5.04.2006

E.D. Texas Notes Circuit Split re Whether Federal Aviation Act Preempts Field of Aviation Safety

Per Monroe v. Cessna Aircraft Co., 417 F. Supp. 2d 824 (E.D. Tex. Feb. 17, 2006):

Circuit courts are split on whether the field of aviation safety is preempted by the Federal Aviation Act. The Supreme Court has yet to directly address the issue. The Tenth and Third Circuits have directly addressed the issue and come to opposite conclusions. As discussed above, the Fifth Circuit has only addressed specific areas of aviation safety and has yet to come to a conclusion as to the entire field.

. . .

The field of aviation safety is not preempted by the Federal Aviation Act. There is not sufficient evidence of a clear intent by Congress to preempt, neither through a pervasive scheme of federal regulations set forth by the FAA nor within the Act's text and legislative history. Although some courts have found that the entire field of aviation safety is preempted by the Federal Aviation Act, the Fifth Circuit has not come to the same conclusion. . . . [N]either the field of aviation safety nor negligence and strict product liability claims against aircraft manufacturers are impliedly preempted by federal law in the Fifth Circuit. . . .

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