Parsons v. Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company

RESPONDENT: Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company
LOCATION: Alabama State Capitol

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 375 US 71 (1963)
ARGUED: Oct 23, 1963
DECIDED: Nov 12, 1963

Facts of the case


Media for Parsons v. Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 23, 1963 in Parsons v. Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company

Earl Warren:

The Honorable James B. Parsons, judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Petitioner, versus the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company.

Mr. Naughton.

John J. Naughton:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This case involves the issuance of a writ of mandamus by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit directing the petitioner, a United States District Judge, to transfer a cause of action arising under the Federal Employers' Liability Act to the Western District of Michigan, the Southern Division, sitting in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Previous to the ruling by the petitioner, denying a motion to transfer made under Section 1404 (a) of the Judicial Code, the same case had been brought before the Circuit Court of Cook County.

There, the plaintiff's cause of action was dismissed by that Court on the ground of forum non conveniens.

A decision below issued the writ of mandamus on two grounds, on the grounds of full faith and credit as stated in Section 1738 of the Judicial Code and on its finding that the plaintiff was estopped by the previous ruling under a so-called estoppel by verdict.

Arguing on behalf of the petitioner here, I would contend that the decision of the court below is clearly incorrect in that the question is not a question of the statutory provision of full faith and credit creating any rights in the respondent here to have a particular ruling when it makes a motion under a federal provision.

I would also contend today that there's an inter relationship between the acts involved herein that is Section 1404 (a), Section 1738 and Section 6 of the Federal Employers' Liability Act.

The case arose when an employee of the respondent by the name of Jack Filbrun was injured while attempting to release a hand break on a car in the respondent's yard at Ludington, Michigan.

He states that when he attempted to release this hand break, it suddenly quickly released causing him to fall from the car where he was caught by his conductor and was injured.

Subsequent, that injury occurred on the 15th of July in 1960, subsequent to that injury, he went to a Dr. Serb who was indentified in the record as a company doctor.

He was placed in a hospital and he was told by that doctor that there was nothing to matter with him.

He went to other doctors.

One of the doctors, a Dr. Boelkins was a specialist to whom he was referred by the company.

Some of the other doctors were doctors of his own choosing.

They --

Potter Stewart:

These all the doctors are in or around at Ludington or in Michigan?

John J. Naughton:

Almost all were in Ludington, Dr. Boelkins was in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Potter Stewart:

How far is Ludington to Grand Rapids, about 40 or 50 miles?

John J. Naughton:

60 miles.

Potter Stewart:

60 miles.

John J. Naughton:

The situation came according to his affidavit, which is contained at pages 72 to 74 of the record that his physical situation was such that he was getting no relief, the company had a promised him a specialist.

He was not getting a specialist.

So at that time, he decided to go to his union attorneys in Chicago, seeking there basically medical help and as well legal help.

Now some points, it has been raised in the -- a brief respondent here that I am associated with the firm that represents Mr. Filbrun and that is correct.

I am also here by virtue of appointment by his Honor Judge Parsons.

In representing Judge Parsons here, I don't want to deceive the Court that I don't have a -- a special interest in this particular case being associated with the plaintiff's attorneys but the basic representation I would submit here by me is on behalf of Judge Parsons in advancing his ideas as to the judgment below issuing a writ of mandamus.

The plaintiff when he came to Chicago was eventually placed under the care of Dr. Raven at the -- his attorney's reference.

The plaintiff was then hospitalized in Chicago for conservative treatment complaining of back condition.