Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court preserved a legal rule which has for 50 years helped railway workers and Jones Act seamen recover fair compensation for their injuries. The conservative justices had urged that the well-established rule, created by Congress as interpreted by the Supreme Court in 1957, be cast aside and be replaced with an English common law rule which would have assisted shipowners in avoiding liability for their negligence. Despite a vigorous dissent by the Chief Justice, the majority in CSX Transportation, Inc. v. McBride held that if employer negligence plays any part in causing injury to a railway worker (or seaman), no matter how slight, the employer is liable for damages. This prevents defendants from escaping liability by arguing their negligence was not a direct or immediate cause of the injury.
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