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  Richmond 2, Railroad 0
February 15, 2010


In a second round challenge at the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, Richmond lawyers trounced railroad lawyers again in a legal dispute over Richmond’s authority to enforce California Public Utility Commission rules limiting the time a grade crossing can be blocked.

See Richmond Prevails in Court Against BNSF in Criminal Complaint for Blocking Grade Crossings, June 20, 2009, for the trial court decisions. Click here for the Appellate Court decision.

After the Richmond city attorney charged BNSF with violating the PUC order prohibiting extended blockage of intersections, BSNF sought to invalidate the PUC order, arguing it was preempted by federal law.  The trial court rejected that challenge, and BNSF sought an immediate writ in the appellate division of the superior court challenging the trial court decision.  The court of appeal has finally denied the writ.  It is possible to BNSF to seek the California Court of Appeal in San Francisco, or the California Supreme Court to review this issue.  If they do not choose to do that, the criminal matter will continue in the trial court.