The Federal Employers' Liability Act supersedes the common and statutory law of the states ("There is no federal common law"), and this is true regardless of where the action is brought. Under common law, the injured employee was faced with the burden of proof and obliged to overcome the defenses of contributory negligence, assumption of risk and the fellowservant rule. But it is apparent that Congress was dissatisfied with the common law approach to the master-servant relation-ship. The practical effect (at the very least) of the F.E.L.A. is to abolish many of the defenses available at common law to an employer when faced by a suit by an employee for injuries received in the course and scope of his employment.
Gaspare A. Corso, How F.E.L.A. Became Liability without Fault, 15 Clev.-Marshall L. Rev. 344 (1966)