from the Allen Superior Court, The Honorable Wendy Davis,
Judge;, The Honorable David M. Zent, Magistrate. Trial Court
Cause No. 02D05-1503-IF-2039, 02D06-1505-IF-2988,
02D05-1505-IF-3070, 02D06-1505-IF-3071, 02D04-1505-IF-3082,
02D04-1505-IF-3084, 02D06-1505-IF-3183, 02D06-1505-IF-3246,
02D05-1505-IF-3248, 02D04-1505-IF-3251, 02D04-1505-IF-3255,
02D06-1505-IF-3262, 02D04-1505-IF-3263, 02D05-1505-IF-3264,
02D05-1505-IF-3312, 02D04-1505-IF-3362, 02D06-1505-IF-3363,
02D06-1506-IF-6379, 02D04-1506-IF-6383, 02D04-1508-IF-9742,
02D06-1508-IF-9744, 02D06-1511-IF-13718, 02D04-1512-IF-15577
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Larry D. Allen Deputy Attorney General
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE John C. Duffey Heather L. Emenhiser
Stuart & Branigin LLP Lafayette, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR AMICUS CURIAE, ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN
RAILROADS Harold Abrahamson Jonathan Halm Abrahamson, Reed,
& Bilse Hammond, Indiana.
The State of Indiana ("State") appeals the trial
court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Norfolk
Southern Railway Company ("Norfolk"). The State argues
the trial court erred as a matter of law when it determined
Indiana's Blocked Crossing Statute, Indiana Code section
8-6-7.5-1 ("Indiana Blocked Crossing Statute"), is
preempted by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination
Act ("ICCTA") and the Federal Railroad Safety Act
("FRSA"). We reverse and remand.
and Procedural History
The facts here are not disputed. In 2015, the State issued
twenty-three citations to Norfolk for violations of
Indiana's blocked-crossing statute, Indiana Code section
8-6-7.5-1 ("Indiana's Blocked Crossing
Statute"). Norfolk does not dispute "that the
trains in these causes blocked the crossings for more than
ten minutes on each occasion." (App. Vol. II at 7.)
Nevertheless, Norfolk challenged the citations.
On September 21, 2015, Norfolk filed a motion for summary
judgment, arguing Indiana's Blocked-Crossing Statute is
preempted by the ICCTA and the FRSA. The State responded, and
the trial court held a hearing on the matter on January 12,
2016. On June 8, 2016, the trial court granted Norfolk's
motion for summary judgment after concluding "I.C.
8-6-7.5-1 is preempted by the Interstate Commerce Commission
Termination Act ("ICCTA"), 49 U.S.C. § 10101,
et seq., and the Federal Railroad Safety Act
("FRSA"), 49 U.S.C. § 20101, et seq."
(Id. at 9.)
In its order granting summary judgment in favor of Norfolk,
the trial court outlined some of the relevant facts which led
to the citations:
1. Trains block grade crossings in excess of ten minutes for
various reasons in the performance of Norfolk Southerns'
[sic] railroad operations in New Haven.
2. For example, Norfolk Southern performs switching
operations in connection with its service to various
industries. Performing switching maneuvers typically at Rose
Avenue and Hartzell Road, which are directly east of the East
Wayne Yard. Safe coupling of cars during switching operations
must be completed at slow speeds. Coupling cars at anything
but a slow speed may cause cars to derail. Switching
operations typically take longer than ten minutes to perform.
Norfolk Southern could not perform these switching operations
without, at times, blocking grade crossing [sic] in excess of
3. Further, inbound trains may be held while waiting for
entry into the East Wayne Yard and to allow other train
traffic to pass. This may result in grade crossing blockages
in excess of ten minutes. Trains may also stop as the result
of a mechanical defect with the train, resulting in grade
crossing blockages in excess of the [sic] minutes.
4. Doyle Road is the first siding track east of the East
Wayne Yard. Trains park on the siding to allow other train
traffic to pass on the mainline. This may result in grade
crossing blockages on Doyle Road in excess of ten minutes.
5. To attempt to limit the time a train may obstruct a grade
crossing to ten minutes Norfolk Southern would be required to
run trains at a faster speed so as to clear crossings more
quickly, to run shorter (and, therefore, more numerous)
trains so they can be stopped without obstructing grade
crossings, or to break or "cut" the train to open
the grade crossing for motor vehicle traffic.
6. Norfolk Southern can only open grade crossings for motor
vehicle traffic (during the time the train is stopped) by
breaking or "cutting" the train into two or more
segments (train segments), depending on the length of the
train. Cutting a train requires a temporary interruption of
the train's braking system.
7. The crew must reassemble these train segments and perform
an airbrake safety test required by federal regulations
before the train can be moved - an airbrake test that can
only be performed once the train is completely reassembled.
Reassembling the train and performing the federally mandated
airbrake test is a procedure that requires more than ten
minutes to complete.
8. Cutting and re-coupling train segments requires train crew
members to dismount from the locomotive engine, walk to where
the cut is to be made, and operate equipment necessary to
perform the coupling or un-coupling operation. Crew members
also have to set a sufficient number of handbrakes on that
part of the train uncoupled from the engine(s). To complete
the coupling process, employees must go between the ends of
the cars and re-attach the air hoses that are part of [the]
train's braking system.
9. Requiring employees to cut and reassemble train segments
each time a train may block a grade crossing for more than
ten minutes would also delay Norfolk Southern's train
operations/ traffic because of the time involved in
performing these maneuvers.
(Id. at 7-8.)
Judgment Standard of Review
We review decisions on summary judgment de
novo and apply the same standard applied by the
trial court. AM Gen. LLC v. Armour, 46 N.E.3d 436,
439 (Ind. 2015). The movant must show the designated evidence
raises no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id.
Here, the trial court made findings and conclusions in
support of its entry of summary judgment. We are not bound by
such findings and conclusions, but they aid our review by
providing reasons for the decision. Allen Gray Ltd.
P'ship IV v. Mumford, 44 N.E.3d 1255, 1256