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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

BNSF Railway alleges Washington railroad construction project is preempted by federal law

Lawsuits

By Bree Gonzales | Nov 27, 2018


TACOMA, Wash. (Legal Newsline) – A common carrier alleges its railroad construction project in a Washington county is not subject to state, county and local laws.

BNSF Railway Co. filed a complaint on Nov. 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Clark County, Washington, et al. seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff is upgrading a stretch of its track between Washougal and Mount Pleasant in Clark County that would allow continuous movement of trains and reduce wait times at crossings. The plaintiff alleges the defendants are "threatening" to compel it to engage in a county permitting and preclearance process. The plaintiff alleges this its project is preempted by federal law.

The plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment that the application of Clark County permitting ordinances is preempted by federal law.

The plaintiff seeks for the court to enjoin defendants from proceeding with any enforcement of the County Development Code against BNSF in connection with the construction project. It is represented by Barry Hartman of K&L Gates LLP in Seattle, Washington; Benjamin J. Horwich, Allison M. Day and Andre W. Brewster III of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in San Francisco, California; and Ginger D. Anders of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in Washington, D.C.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington case number 3:18-cv-05926-BHS

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Munger, Tolles & Olson U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington Tacoma Division

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