U.S. Supreme Court: State Law Claims Against Locomotive Manufacturers Are Preempted by Federal Law


In a decision published on February 29, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court held that all personal injury and wrongful death claims based on state law causes of action, including defective design and failure to warn, involving locomotives or locomotive components are preempted by federal law. (Kurns v. Railroad Friction Products Corp., No. 10-879 (2012 WL 631857) (February 29, 2012).

The decedent in Kurns worked as a welder and machinist for a railroad carrier from 1947 to 1974, where plaintiffs allege he was exposed to asbestos from locomotives, including locomotive engine valves and locomotive brake shoes. The plaintiffs originally brought the case in Pennsylvania state court, asserting common law claims that the locomotives were defectively designed and failed to adequately warn about the hazards of asbestos in their components. The defendants removed the case to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which is handling all federal court cases involving claims of personal injury for exposure to asbestos. The District Court granted summary judgment, which was subsequently affirmed by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and now by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Sedgwick LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.