Court holds that federal standards of care pre-empt state law standards


Originally published in International Law Office on November 27 2012.

A New York state trial court recently added another voice to the chorus of cases finding that federal law pre-empts state law standards of care in the field of aviation safety. In In re: Air Crash Near Clarence Center, New York,(1) decided on September 21 2012, the Erie County Court held that federal standards of care applied to the plaintiffs' claims of negligent pilot hiring, training and retention.

Facts -

The case arises out of the February 12 2009 crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407. The plaintiffs alleged that in addition to the pilot's negligence in operating the aircraft, defendants Colgan Air, Inc and Pinnacle Airlines Corp negligently hired, trained and retained the pilot, who allegedly had a history of failed flight tests and unsafe flying tendencies.

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