Cases & Deals

BNSF obtains summary judgment in Federal Railroad Safety Act whistleblower lawsuit

Client(s) BNSF Railway Company

Jones Day client BNSF Railway Company obtained a complete dismissal of a former employee's whistleblower lawsuit brought under the Federal Railroad Safety Act ("FRSA") in federal court. The former employee claimed he was unlawfully terminated in violation of the FRSA for filing injury reports and making various safety complaints. BNSF proved in its summary judgment motion that the former employee was terminated for violating serious BNSF rules, not because of any purported protected activity under the FRSA. The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota agreed and held that "a reasonable jury viewing the evidence would be compelled to find that [the former employee's] protected activity played no part in his termination." The court also held that BNSF proved its affirmative defense that it would have terminated the former employee even in the absence of his protected activity, and granted BNSF's motion for summary judgment.

Dafoe v. BNSF Railway Co., No. 14-CV-0239 (D. Minn.)