Federal Preemption: A Picture Worth A Thousand Words

If the administration’s preemption efforts continue to bear fruit,(see our concerns about this here and here), then any federal regulation will serve to prohibit someone who is injured from bringing a claim against a defendant who has maimed or killed someone they love. A case in point: if an auto manufacturer has met federal design minimums (remember, they can always design a product more safely than the minimum standards dictate), the manufacturer will say that the government has “approved” the design, and that it shouldn’t be subject to litigation if the design proves faulty, regardless whether the design failure involves exploding gas tanks, failing seat belts ( see our litigation against GM about this Farnsworth v. General Motors), or vehicle rollovers.

The lesson for the class today involves roof crush. Follow the links below, and you will see video footage demonstrating that the federal roof strength standard will not protect vehicle occupants. Passengers who sustain these injuries often face the horrific consequences of brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or death. Should the injured passenger’s claim be preempted by federal regulation when it is patently clear that rollover accidents are foreseeable and that manfuacturers can design a vehicle to withstand them? (Remember that this legal sea change was brought to you by politicians pledging to keep the government out of your business and to maximize states rights against the overreaching urges of the federal government…)

Sources:

Multiple documents and video:
http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=2728

http://www.newmediamill.com/webcasts/cas/20080909/

http://www.citizen.org/autosafety/rollover/crashwrth_/articles.cfm?ID=17995