BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell

Montana cannot exercise general jurisdiction over a defendant railroad that is incorporated and has a principal place of business in another state, and so cannot adjudicate claims against the railroad arising from transactions or events outside Montana, even though the railroad maintains 2,000 miles of track and has 2,000 employees in Montana.  Although BNSF Railway Co. has over 2,000 miles of railway track in Montana and employs over 2,000 employees there, it is not “at home” in Montana, as it was not incorporated there nor is its principal place of business located there.  So the railway is not subject to personal jurisdiction in Montana on suits arising from transactions or events occurring outside Montana.  Also, the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) does not permit any broader exercise of jurisdiction in cases involving injured railway workers.  Instead, 45 USC 46 specifies only the proper venue for an FELA action (defendant’s residence, where it does business or where the cause of action arose) and states only that federal courts exercise concurrent rather than exclusive jurisdiction of FELA actions.

United States Supreme Court (Ginsburg, J.; Sotomayor, J., concurring in part & dissenting in part); May 30, 2017; 2017 WL 2322834


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