US Supreme Court Issues Major Asbestos Decision.

In the case of Kurns v. Railroad Friction, the US Supreme Court was faced with the preemptive scope of the Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA).  In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court affirmed the Third Circuit and effectively overruled the PA Supreme Court decision in Norfolk & Western v PA Public Utility Commission, 413 A.2d 1037 (pa. 1980).  In Norfolk, the PA Supreme Court held that PUC regulations affecting locomotives in interstate operation were not preempted under the BIA and the Supreme Court Napier opinion and thus state law tort claims could proceed.  The US Supreme Court disagreed and held that the the federal regulations preempted state law tort claims.  Does this (finally) mean a decrease in asbestos litigation?  Stay tuned to find out.

Special thanks to Clayton Thomas for his contributions to this post.  For more information, please contact Bob Cosgrove at