United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
CHARLES B. GOODWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
BNSF Railway Company has filed this lawsuit challenging the
constitutionality of Oklahoma's recently enacted
“Blocked Crossing Statute, ” Okla. Stat. tit. 66,
§ 190. Plaintiff's Complaint seeks declaratory and
injunctive relief and names five Defendants. Two are
municipal corporations: (1) City of Edmond, Oklahoma
(“City of Edmond”); and (2) City of Davis,
Oklahoma (“City of Davis”). Three are individuals
sued in their capacity as officials on the Oklahoma
Corporation Commission (“OCC”): (3) Todd Hiett
(OCC Chairman); (4) Bob Anthony (OCC Vice-Chairman); and (5)
Dana Murphy (OCC Commissioner) (collectively, the “OCC
Defendants”). See Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 1-2.
before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion seeking that
Defendants be enjoined from prosecuting and enforcing the
Blocked Crossing Statute during the pendency of this lawsuit.
See Pl.'s Mot. Prelim. Inj. (Doc. No. 14). The
OCC Defendants have filed a Response (Doc. No. 30), to which
Plaintiff has replied (Doc. No. 31). In addition, Defendant
City of Davis has filed a Stipulation agreeing to stay
enforcement of the Blocked Crossing Statute while this
lawsuit is pending. See Stip. (Doc. No. 28).
Defendant City of Edmond has not responded to the Motion
within the time allowed.
1, 2019, the Blocked Crossing Statute took effect. The
Statute provides in relevant part:
A. As it is immediately necessary for the safety and welfare
of the people, no railcar shall be brought to rest in a
position which blocks vehicular traffic at a railroad
intersection with a public highway or street for longer than
ten (10) minutes.
B. Municipalities, county sheriffs and the Oklahoma Highway
Patrol shall have the authority to issue a citation to any
person or corporation that violates a provision of this
section. Such person or corporation shall be subject to a
fine of up to One Thousand Dollars ($1, 000.00) for each
violation. Seventy-five percent (75%) of the collected fine
shall be deposited to the credit of the general fund of the
entity that issued the citation and the remaining twenty-five
percent (25%) shall be credited to the Corporation Commission
Revolving Fund established in Section 180.7 of Title 17 of
the Oklahoma Statutes. A copy of the citation, along with any
information regarding train identification, shall be sent to
the Corporation Commission for enforcement of the penalty at
a hearing before an administrative law judge of the
Commission. The violating entity or individual may appeal the
administrative law judge's decision to the Commission en
banc. The Commission shall annually deliver an electronic
report detailing the number of violations, number of rulings,
number of appeals and amount of fines assessed under this
section. Commission reports shall be delivered to the Speaker
of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, the President Pro
Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate and the Governor. The
Commission shall promulgate rules and procedures to
effectuate the provisions of this section.
. . . .
C. Every railroad shall be operated in such a manner as to
minimize obstruction of emergency vehicles at public highway
Okla. Stat. tit. 66, § 190.
August 22, 2019, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit, alleging that
the Blocked Crossing Statute is preempted by the Interstate
Commerce Commission Termination Act (“ICCTA”), 49
U.S.C. §§ 10101 et seq., and by the Federal
Railroad Safety Act (“FRCA”), 49 U.S.C.
§§ 20101 et seq. See Compl. ¶¶
13, 15-19, 22-27.
Preliminary Injunctive Relief
has requested a preliminary injunction preventing Defendants
from enforcing and prosecuting the Blocked Crossing Statute.
A preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy,
” and to obtain such relief, Plaintiff must show:
“(1) a likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a
likelihood that the movant will suffer irreparable harm in
the absence of preliminary relief; (3) that the balance of
equities tips in the movant's favor; and (4) that the
injunction is in the public interest.” Att'y
Gen. of Okla. v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 565 F.3d 769, 776
(10th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted); see
also Chamber of Commerce v. Edmondson, 594 F.3d 742,
764-71 (10th Cir. 2010) (upholding district court's entry
of a preliminary injunction of a statute alleged to be
preempted by federal law).
showing of these factors is essentially uncontested.
See OCC Defs.' Resp. at 1-3 (stating that the
OCC Defendants should not be subject to an injunction and
noting they “do not concede” ...