Szekeres v. CSX Transportation, Inc. (Sixth Circuit)
In CSX Transportation, Inc. v. McBride, 131 S. Ct. 2640 (2011), the Supreme Court held that FELA’s “relaxed” causation standard does not require proof of traditional, common-law proximate causation, but also held that simple “but for” causation is not sufficient. The plaintiff in this case alleged that the bathroom in the freight train on which he was working was unsanitary and that he injured himself when he later left the train to relieve himself on a muddy incline and fell down. He filed suit against CSX under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act and the Locomotive Inspection Act, contending that the lack of a sanitary bathroom ultimately resulted in his injuries. Although the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, the district court granted judgment as a matter of law to CSX. We were retained to defend the judgment on appeal, arguing that the plaintiff’s theory of causation was too attenuated to support recovery even under FELA’s relaxed standard.