News Brief

Tobin and Braude Obtain Voluntary Dismissal in a Highly Charged Product Liability Case

March 31, 2014

Tom Tobin (Partner-White Plains) and Dan Braude (Of Counsel-White Plains) obtained a voluntary dismissal in a high-profile product liability case in Reno, NV. The plaintiffs in the case were estates of three fatally injured rail passengers and several others who were seriously injured when a semi-tractor and trailers collided with a passenger train.

The team’s motion for summary judgment  asserted that design defect claims were expressly preempted by the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) and impliedly preempted and an obstacle to the intent of Congress in view of related Federal Railway Administration crashworthiness testing and analysis. This is the third time that Wilson Elser has successfully made similar  motions on behalf of rail industry clients.

In the Reno matter, additional arguments were presented as to corporate successor liability issues and which plaintiffs were in the cars at issue.  In prior cases the motions have been aggressively opposed.  The Reno matter was unusual in that the plaintiffs’ attorneys studied the motion, and even circulated it to outside counsel more familiar with FRSA preemption issues, and then simply capitulated. 

The litigation continues against the trucking company, the operator of the passenger train and the owner of the rail line and crossing.

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