FREIGHT LOSS STATUTE (PERISHABLE AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES ACT) / Garden-variety application (no pun intended) of Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

Oregon Potato Co. v. Seven Stars Fruit Co., Inc., Slip copy, 2013 WL 230984 (U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, January 22, 2013). Free copy available here.

FEDERAL RAIL SAFETY ACT / Lawsuit on multiple state tort theories by motorcyclist against railroad for injuries in collision with train at rail / highway crossing – Held: Under Federal Rail Safety Act two pleaded tort claims not preempted and two other pleaded tort claims federally preempted.

Federal Rail Safety Act preempted state tort claims for (1 negligence per se, and (2) failure to warn based on alleged misclassification of tracks at crossing. Federal Rail Safety Act did not preempt state tort claims for failure to maintain safe crossing area.

Zimmerman v. Norfolk Southern Corp., 2013 WL 238789 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, January 23, 2013). Free copy available here.

U.S. Supreme Court Case / MARITIME – Definition of “vessel” under 1 U.S. Code § 3 – A status that triggers federal maritime jurisdiction.

This U.S. Supreme Court case of course goes beyond the narrow question of whether or not a floating home is subject to maritime law as a “vessel”. It is the most recent interpretation of this important term of art under federal maritime law. 

Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, 2013 WL 149633 (U.S. Supreme Court, January 15, 2013). Free copy available hereContinue reading

AVIATION / If cargo damaged in international shipment while in control of carrier’s agent, then the Montreal Convention would apply and plaintiff’s state common law claims would be preempted and thereby result in federal question jurisdiction.

Court finds federal question jurisdiciton despite fact that plaintiff pleaded only state law claims in complaint.

Samsung Austin Semiconductor, LLC v. Integrated Airline Services, Slip copy, 2013 WL 105380 (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, January 9, 2013). Free copy available here.

Summary: Continue reading

FREIGHT LOSS STATUTE (CARMACK) / Garden-variety case holding the Carmack Amendment provides federal question jurisdiction and preempts claims based on state law.

Here the court invokes federal preemption of the state law claims pled by the plaintiff as an affirmative basis for federal question jurisidiction. Put another way,  the plaintiff here did not include in its complaint the Carmack Amendment or any other federal law (statutory or judge-made cause of action). Nevertheless, this court ruled that the fact that only a federal law claim (in the form of Carmack Amendment) could be validly pleaded in light of the Carmack Amendment having federally preempted the state law negligence and contract claims that the plaintiff actually did plead meant that federal question jurisdiction had been established (apparently by implication from what had been incorrectly pleaded as state law causes of action). 

Geyer v. U.S. Van Lines, Slip copy, 2013 WL 65458 (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, January 4, 2013). Free copy available here. Continue reading