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CSX Transp. v. Easterwood

Supreme Court of the United States

January 12, 1993, Argued ; April 21, 1993 1 , Decided

No. 91-790

Opinion

 [*661]  [***394]  [**1736]    JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

 Thomas Easterwood was killed on February 24, 1988 when a train owned and operated by petitioner and cross-respondent CSX Transportation, Inc., collided with the truck he was driving at the Cook Street crossing in Cartersville, Georgia. His widow, respondent and cross-petitioner Lizzie Easterwood, brought this diversity wrongful-death action, which alleges, inter  [***395]  alia, that CSX was negligent under Georgia law for failing to maintain adequate warning devices at the crossing and for operating the train at an excessive speed. The issue before the  [****6]  Court is the extent to which the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 (FRSA), 84 Stat. 971, as amended, 45 U.S.C. §§ 421-447 (1988 ed. and Supp. II), pre-empts these claims.

The District Court for the Northern District of Georgia granted summary judgment for CSX on the ground that both claims were pre-empted. 742 F. Supp. 676, 678 (1990). The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding that respondent's allegation of negligence based on the train's speed was pre-empted, but that the claim based on the absence of proper warning devices was not. 933 F.2d 1548, 1553-1556 (1991). Because Courts of Appeals have differed over the pre-emptive effect of FRSA on negligence suits against railroads, we granted the petitions of both parties. 505 U.S. 1217 (1992). 3 We now affirm.

 [****7]  I

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507 U.S. 658 *; 113 S. Ct. 1732 **; 123 L. Ed. 2d 387 ***; 1993 U.S. LEXIS 2982 ****; 61 U.S.L.W. 4346; 93 Cal. Daily Op. Service 2889; 93 Daily Journal DAR 4989; 7 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 172

CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC., PETITIONER 91-790 v. LIZZIE BEATRICE EASTERWOOD LIZZIE BEATRICE EASTERWOOD, PETITIONER 91-1206 v. CSX TRANSPORTATION, INC.

Prior History: ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT.  [****1]  

Disposition: 933 F.2d 1548, affirmed.

CORE TERMS

regulations, crossing, grade crossing, train, installation, railroads, Street, track, subject matter, Manual, speed, pre-emption, pre-empted, gates, warning device, train speed, highway, traffic, hazard, state law, railroad safety, pre-emptive, covering, projects, conditions, traffic control device, excessive speed, provisions, travel, funds

Business & Corporate Compliance, Transportation Law, Rail Transportation, Maintenance & Safety, Torts, Types of Incidents, Railroad Crossings, Transportation Torts, General Overview, Transportation Law, Safety Appliance Act, Couplers, Constitutional Law, Supremacy Clause, Federal Preemption, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Procedural Matters, Preemption