Jump To Navigation

Case Law

Deviney v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.

Date Decided: August 6th, 2010
Originally Filed in: Nebraska (state)
Decided by: Nebraska Supreme Court (State)
Court: Supreme Court of Nebraska
Judge: Heavican
Citation: 280 Neb. 450


Plaintiff, a railroad worker, brought this action against Union Pacific Railroad (Employer) for alleged injuries she suffered after being infected with he West Nile Virus as a result of mosquito bites while working.  Plaintiff alleged that Employer knew or should have known that nearby ponds were rife with mosquitoes, and that Employer failed to take appropriate precautions to protect plaintiff.  As a result of the infection, plaintiff alleges that she suffers hearing loss and other physical ailments.  Employer filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that it did not have a duty to protect the plaintiff from mosquitoes and asked the court to apply the doctrine of ferae naturae.


Does the doctrine of ferae naturae preclude a plaintiff for bringing a FELA claim against her employer when the plaintiff alleges that she contracted a harmful virus from mosquito bites sustained while on the job?


No.  The court denied the Employer's motion for summary judgment.  The doctrine of ferae naturae does not override the employer's duty to provide a reasonably safe place to work when the cause of action is promulgated under the Federal Employer's Liability Act.  The doctrine of ferae naturae essentially provides that a landowner cannot be held liable for the actions of dangerous animals on his or her property unless he or she has reduced the animals to his or her possession.  However, under the FELA, an employer has a duty to provide a reasonably safe place to work.  An employer breaches its duty to provide a safe workplace when it knows or should know of a potential hazard in the workplace, yet fails to exercise reasonable care to inform and protect its employees.  The court reasoned that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Employer knew of harmful, stagnant pools that were breeding grounds for mosquitoes, located along the plaintiff's designated work route.  


The doctrine of ferae naturae does not override the employer's duty to provide a reasonably safe place to work when the cause of action is promulgated under the Federal Employer's Liability Act.  



Overall issues discussed or touched upon by this case:
Free Case Evaluation Form Talk to a Lawyer Now
Please complete the math to prove you are not a robot:
in-depth overview FELA click here


In re Ricky Joe Jones, Cheryl Ann Jones, Debtors

Date Decided: Jan 25th, 2011
Decided By: U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit(Bankruptcy) (Federal) read more

Leandrew Lewis v. CSX Transportation, Inc.

Date Decided: Mar 10th, 2011
Decided By: Ohio Southern District Court (Federal) read more

Subscribe to Case Law Feed


Train Carrying Crude Oil Derails Causing Explosion & Fire in Alabama Wetlands

 ALICEVILLE, AL – A train carrying tanker cars full of crude oil derailed on November 8 causing an explosion and fire in a wetlands area just outside Aliceville, AL. The city of Aliceville is... read more

Railroad Worker Injured in Midvale, Utah TRAX Train Crash

 MIDVALE, UT – A TRAX commuter train crashed into an empty passenger car that was sitting on the tracks on November 6, derailing the train and injuring two passengers and a railroad employee in... read more

CSX Train Derails in Millcreek Township, PA

 MILLCREEK TOWNSHIP, PA – Four CSX rail cars full of construction debris derailed in Millcreek Township, PA on November 1, causing traffic delays at several intersections. Millcreek Township is... read more

Three CSX Railroad Workers One Motorist Injured at Bradner, OH Rail Crossing

 BRADNER, OH – Three CSX railroad employees were injured at a rail crossing just south of Bradner, OH on October 28, when a motorist drove around construction barriers and hit a utility pole and... read more

Subscribe RSS
Attorneys Refer your cases here

Toll-Free: 800-773-6770
Local: 713-668-9999
Fax: 713-668-1980
1811 Bering Drive, Suite 300
Houston, TX 77057

Of Counsel Offices

David Lockard
15 W Highland Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19118

Fred Bremseth
Minnesota Office
601 Carlson Parkway
Suite 995
Minnetonka, Minnesota 55305

Montana Office
100 North 27th Street
Suite 220
Billings, Montana 59101