Nauman Smith Launches 130th Year of Rail Industry Service at PA Rail Freight Seminar

Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall marked its 130th year of service to the Pennsylvania railroad industry in 2010 through two events tied to the Pennsylvania Rail Freight Seminar in Harrisburg. The firm hosted a reception on May 19, 2010, to celebrate the anniversary of two definitive 1880 cases, Duncan v. Pennsylvania Railroad Company and Hall v. Pennsylvania Railroad Company.

Duncan involved 19th century urban infrastructure development in the City of Philadelphia. The Hall case involved striking railroad employees in Pittsburgh, who started a fire that destroyed a shipper’s goods. Details on these two cases, along with other firm cases that helped shape the rail industry in Pennsylvania since that time, are the subject of the attached power point presentation, also available in PDF format.

From its beginnings, the firm has been active in every major area of rail litigation and regulatory development as railroad and transportation law progressed historically to the present day, including two recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions. One case, argued by firm Managing Partner Craig J. Staudenmaier, reaffirmed the occupied crossing rule as a complete bar to recovery in 2006. The Court also held that Pennsylvania’s blocked crossing statute was preempted under the Federal Rail Safety Act. Another case from 2004, argued by firm partner Benjamin C. Dunlap, Jr., affirmed that contract rights are preserved between the parties even when the PUC orders payment for rail-highway crossing work contrary to a contract.

Staudenmaier and Dunlap shared their legal expertise as part of a legal panel at the Rail Freight Seminar on May 20, 2010, speaking respectively on FELA and PUC issues. Copies of their power point presentations, also available in PDF format, are also attached.

For further information on any of these matters, contact Ben Dunlap at or Craig Staudenmaier at

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