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State ex rel. Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. The Honorable Michael P. David

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  • State ex rel. Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. The Honorable Michael P. David

    Date Decided: Mar 1st, 2011
    Decided By: Missouri Supreme Court (State)
    Court: Supreme Court of Missouri
    Citation: 331 S.W.3d 666

    James Gordon ("Gordon") and Nigel Champlin ("Champlin")filed suit in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis seeking damages fromUnion Pacific Railroad Co. ("Union Pacific") under the Federal Employer'sLiability Act ("FELA"), 45 U.S.C. 51.Over 100 similar cases were filed against Union Pacific, and the cases wereconsolidated into four groups. Gordon and Champlin's cases were consolidatedwith the Barnes group.

    In 2007, the Gordon and Champlin cases were severed from theBarnes group. Shortly after, UnionPacific entered into an arbitration agreement which called for each of the fourgroups of cases to be arbitrated separately.

    In 2010, the Circuit Court ordered that the Gordon andChamplin cases be arbitrated as part of another of the four groups; the Ellison group. The circuit court heldthat although Gordon and Champlin were not signatories to the arbitrationagreement, the agreement was orally modified to include Gordon and Champlin.

    Union Pacific appealed the decision of the Circuit Courtseeking a Writ of Prohibition to bar arbitration of Gordon and Champlin'scases. Union Pacific contends that the Circuit Court erred in submitting thecases to arbitration because there was no enforceable arbitration agreement betweenUnion Pacific and Gordon and Champlin.