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State of Indiana v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company - 8/29/17

8/29/17 1:30 pm EST

1:30 p.m. 02A03-1607-IF-01524. In 2015, the State of Indiana ("State") issued twenty-three citations to Norfolk Southern Railway ("Norfolk") for violations of Indiana Code § 8-6-7.5-1, which declares it unlawful "for a railroad corporation to permit any train, railroad car or engine to obstruct public travel at a railroad-highway grade crossing for a period in excess of ten (10) minutes" unless the train, railroad car, or engine "cannot be moved by reason of circumstances over which the railroad corporation has no control."  Norfolk challenged the citations, and the trial court granted summary judgment in Norfolk's favor, concluding the state law was pre-empted by federal law.

The State appeals, arguing Indiana Code § 8-6-7.5-1 is not pre-empted by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act, 49 U.S.C. § 10101, et. seq., ("ICCTA") or the Federal Railroad Safety Act, 49 U.S.C. § 20101, et. seq. ("FRSA") because the purpose of the statute falls under the State's police powers and the federal laws do not expressly or impliedly pre-empt that type of regulation.  Norfolk argues the ICCTA and FRSA expressly pre-empt the state statute.  The Association of American Railroads has filed a brief as Amicus Curiae in support of Norfolk.