Murray v. Union Pacific Railroad Company
ORDER denying 8 Motion to Disqualify Counsel. A reasonable member of the public, or of the bar, would not see an impropriety in Mr. Shelton's representing Murray against the Railroad in this case: all Mr. Shelton's prior work for Union Pacific involved personal injuries on the job or at grade crossings, not employment discrimination. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 6/11/2015. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY
The Court understands why Union Pacific is taken back by Mr.
Shelton's representation in this matter. Mr. Shelton was an associate at
Friday, Eldredge & Clark for several years. He spent almost all his time there
defending this Railroad in FELA and crossing accident litigation. Under the
Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct, it's clear that Mr. Shelton would be
disqualified if this case involved those types of claims. It doesn't. Union
Pacific's motion to disqualify him and his new law firm in this case, NQ 8, is
The Court agrees with the legal analysis in Murray's response. The
issues in this employment case are not substantially similar to the kinds of
issues Mr. Shelton handled everyday in the FELA litigation. ARKANSAS RULES
OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT 1.9. Nor is there an appearance problem that
disqualifies him or his firm. A reasonable member of the public, or of the bar,
would not see an impropriety in Mr. Shelton's representing Murray against
the Railroad in this case: all Mr. Shelton's prior work for Union Pacific
involved personal injuries on the job or at grade crossings, not employment
discrimination. State ofArkansas v. Dean Foods Products Co., Inc., 605 F.2d 380,
385 (8th Cir. 1979), overruled on other grounds in In re Multi-Piece Rim Products
Liability Litigation, 612 F.2d 377 (8th Cir. 1980). The Court is not persuaded
that what Mr. Shelton learned about how Union Pacific conducts its litigation
or its business will give Mr. Shelton and his firm any real advantage here.
And the Railroad's argument about his exposure to the company's culture is
just too general to justify disqualification.
D.P. Mars all Jr.
United States District Judge
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