On March 23, 2021, the Montana Supreme Court decided to retain court rules that unfairly hamstring railroads in their efforts to defend personal-injury suits filed by employees. The decision was a setback for WLF, which argued in an amicus brief that the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA)—the federal law governing railroad-worker injury claims—preempts the bad-faith tort system that Montana courts have superimposed on Congress’s exclusive scheme for compensating railroad workers. Ever since 1908, FELA has provided railroad workers with an effective means of obtaining compensation for on-the-job injuries. Yet Montana law permits employees to supplement their FELA claims with a second suit alleging bad-faith in settling FELA claims. WLF argued that when Congress adopted FELA, it intended to preempt the entire field of railroad injury claims, thus barring under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause the state-law claims routinely recognized by Montana courts.


 WLF brief