Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company v. Buell

PETITIONER: Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company
RESPONDENT: Buell
LOCATION: Highway 80, Solano County, California

DOCKET NO.: 85-1140
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1986-1987)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 480 US 557 (1987)
ARGUED: Dec 01, 1986
DECIDED: Mar 24, 1987

ADVOCATES:
James R. Mc Call - on behalf of the respondent
James R. McCall - for respondent
Rex E. Lee - on behalf of the petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company v. Buell

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 01, 1986 in Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company v. Buell

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - March 24, 1987 in Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company v. Buell

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in No. 85-1140 Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company versus Jim Buell will be announced by Justice Stevens.

John Paul Stevens:

This case also comes to us from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The respondent is a car man employed by the petitioner railroad.

He brought an action under the Federal Employers' Liability Act alleging that the railroad had condoned his harassment by his supervisor and fellow employees.

That the harassment had resulted in his suffering a severe emotional breakdown.

The District Court dismissed the complaint holding that the injury arose out of a workplace dispute, which was subject to mandatory arbitration under the Railway Labor Act, and therefore the FELA action could not be maintained.

The Court of Appeals reversed holding that the dispute did not turn on the collective barganing agreement and was therefore was not subject to arbitration.

The court also took the opportunity to state at some length that claims were intentional infliction of emotional distress are cognoscible under the FELA.

We agree with the Ninth Circuit in so far as it held that the RLA does not bar respondent's action under the Federal Employers' Liability Act.

However because the record of the case is not sufficiently developed at this stage yet to make it appropriate to address the question whether an FELA action is available for the type of emotional injury that respondent alleged.

We do not address that issue.

Our opinion is unanimous.