Locomotive Boiler Inspection Act and asbestos exposure: WRIGHT V. GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. (COA 11/30/2007)

WRIGHT V. GENERAL ELECTRIC CO.
TORTS:  ASBESTOS EXPOSURE AND LBIA (locomotic boiler inspection act)
2006-CA-000080
TO BE PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING
PANEL: ROSENBLUM PRESIDING; ACREE, THOMPSON CONCUR
COUNTY: GREENUP
DATE RENDERED: 11/30/2007

This appeal arises from claim for asbestos exposure while employed as a railroad worker for CSX Transportation (and predecessors) in which GE designed and manufactured locomotives and provided component parts incorporated into the locomotives and railroad cars used by the railroad carriers.  The appellants claimed these contained asbestos to which appellant Ballard was exposed, resulting in his contracting cancer.

The trial court granted summary judgment for GE dismissing the claim on the basis that the common law tort claims sounding in negligence and strict liability were barred in that they were preempted by the federal Locomotive Boiler Inspection Act, 49 U.S.C.A. 20701, et. seq.  The overwhelming weight of authority is that such claims against railroad component parts manufacturers are precluded, and, agreeing with the majority view, the COA affirmed the circuit court’s award of summary judgment to the appellee.

Michael Stevens

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