Heller v. BNSF Railway Company

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Tort Law
  • Date Filed: 07-16-2014
  • Case #: A148820
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J. for the Court; Duncan, J.; & Brewer, J. pro tempore.
  • Full Text Opinion

To maintain a claim under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act, the plaintiff must show that they knew or had reason to know of the injury within three-years of bringing the claim and must have sufficient facts to show that the injury was caused by work related activities.

Heller worked for BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) as a switchman and conductor. Heller brought negligence and strict liability claims against BNSF under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) after exposure to work-related noise resulted in hearing loss and bilateral tinnitus. The trial court found that Heller knew of the injuries and that the injuries were work related, but took place more than three-years before filing the claim. Heller appealed the trial court’s dismissal of his claims and the trial court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of the BNSF Railway Company. To maintain a claim under FELA, a plaintiff must show that the injury occurred within three-years of bringing the claim and the plaintiff must have facts to prove the injury and its work related cause. The three-year limitation period begins to accrue when a plaintiff knew or had reason to know of the injury. The Court held there was sufficient evidence that Heller knew of his injuries more than three years before filing his claim. Affirmed.

Advanced Search