Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Railroads to get immunity from state tort actions

Starting Dec. 26 railroad companies will be immune from state tort lawsuits under a so-called "midnight regulation" that the Transportation Safety Administration has adopted. The new regulation is included in the final rule of the rail transportation security measure that the TSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, published in the Nov. 26 Federal Register. The rule is based on the premise, adopted by the Bush administration in numerous other regulations, that state tort lawsuits are impliedly pre-empted by federal law. However, the American Association for Justice, a Washington-based trial lawyers group, is working on persuading Congress to strike the pre-emption provision next year.

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