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Civil Procedure—State Court Jurisdiction over Collective Bargaining Agreement Under Federal Employers’ Liability Act

BNSF Railway Co. v. Buttrick, 624 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 41 (App. Div. I, December 29, 2011) (J. Swan)

ARIZONA COURT LACKS JURISIDICTION TO ISSUE PROTECTIVE ORDER PROHIBITING EMPLOYER FROM OBTAINING MEDICAL RECORDS OF EMPLOYEE WHO BROUGHT PERSONAL INJURY ACTION UNDER FELA

Railroad employee sued employer railroad in superior court for personal injuries pursuant to the Federal Employers' Liability Act [FELA]. During the pendency of this action the employer asked the employee to submit medical notices as required under a collective bargaining agreement [CBA] between the employee's union and the employer. In response the employee sought and obtained a protective order from the superior court attempting to avoid disclosure of the medical records. The employer then brought this special action and the Arizona Court of Appeals held that the CBA proceeding is a parallel proceeding under federal law and therefore the superior court lacked jurisdiction to issue the protective order. Just as the hearing officer in the CBA would have no jurisdiction to issue orders controlling the parties' conduct in the superior court action, the superior court cannot interfere with the parties' conduct and rights in the CBA proceeding.

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