Bruce Ely Quoted in Law360 on Railway Fuel Purchases


Media Mention

Bradley attorney Bruce Ely was featured in Law360 discussing a recent BNSF Railway Company case. A state judge ruled BNSF Railway Co. is entitled to a $1 million refund of an Alabama city’s diesel fuel tax, plus another $1.2 million in pre-judgment interest, finding an Eleventh Circuit decision barring the state of Alabama from imposing discriminatory taxes on railroads also applies to localities.  

Ely, who represented the business that sold BNSF the diesel fuel, W.C. Rice Oil Co., said the case could have fiscal implications for local governments across the state that impose their own taxes on railroad diesel. He also said rail carriers could use the decision, along with the CSX case, as justification for refusing to pay certain local taxes on diesel fuel.

“It is an ongoing issue that involves not only railroads, but the trucking companies and the water carriers,” Ely explained.

W.C. Rice had a nominal role in the dispute and was only named as a party in the case because it was the entity that collected and remitted the tax to the city, Ely said.

The original article, “Ala. Judge Blocks City Tax on BNSF Railway Fuel Purchases,” appeared in Law360 on December 1, 2021. (login required)