On October 30, McGarvey Law argued before the Montana Supreme Court about issues pertaining to claims against the Railroad.
Earlier this year, the Asbestos Claims Court held that the Railroad was strictly liable for the damage it caused during its operations hauling vermiculite. See Order re: BNSF’s Strict Liability.
BNSF appealed the decision, and our lead trial was put on hold until the Supreme Court could determine necessary legal issues. Yesterday, our firm argued that the asbestos claims Court’s ruling were correct and BNSF should not be immune from liability for their actions.
Below is a News Story on the Argument and the Full Argument before the Supreme Court.
BNSF Oral Argument from MHSL Law on Vimeo.
March 16, 2020 Update
The Montana Supreme Court recently entered a unanimous opinion in our cases against BNSF. The Montana Supreme Court affirmed the Asbestos Court by holding that “BNSF’s handling of asbestos under the facts presented here constitutes an abnormally dangerous activity for which BNSF is strictly liable.” The Montana Supreme Court also affirmed the Asbestos Court’s finding that the federal preemption does not bar claims against BNSF that BNSF cannot apportion fault or negate causation by pointing to W.R. Grace’s conduct. On the issue of whether BNSF was entitled to the common carrier exception to strict liability, the Montana Supreme Court sent the issue back to the Asbestos Court to determine which BNSF activities were “transportation of vermiculite” (for which BNSF may be negligent) and which BNSF “other activities” occurred (for which BNSF is strictly liable). The full opinion can be found here: