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Paris Limousine filed suit against Executive Coach, alleging that limousines it purchased from Executive Coach were in breach of warranty. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that Paris Limousine brought its express warranty claim under Missouri law, which authorizes private enforcement actions for breaches of express warranties. The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (Safety Act), 15 U.S.C. 1381 et seq., and the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards did not affect Executive Coach’s potential liability under Missouri law for breach of its express warranty. The court also held that Executive Coach had not met its burden to demonstrate that conflict preemption applied, and that Paris Limousine had alleged legally cognizable damages. View "Paris Limousine of OK, LLC v. Executive Coach Builders, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against BNSF, alleging a retaliation claim under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) and a negligence claim under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on the FRSA claim, holding that the evidence did not raise a genuine dispute that retaliatory motive prompted by protected activity contributed to plaintiff's dismissal and thus plaintiff failed to make a prima facie case. The court also held that the RRTA was unambiguous and did not include damages for lost wages within the definition of "compensation." Therefore, the regulations providing to the contrary received no deference under Chevron and the court affirmed the district court's decision on this alternate basis. The court need not consider whether it was correct that 26 U.S.C. 104(a)(2) applied to the RRTA. Accordingly, the court affirmed the grant of summary judgment as to this issue. View "Loos v. BNSF Railway Co." on Justia Law

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After he drove his car into a stationary train that was blocking a traffic crossing, plaintiff filed suit against KCSR, alleging common law negligence claims based on his allegations that the train blocked the crossing for an impermissible amount of time and the train's crew failed to adequately warn approaching drivers of the obstructed crossing. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment, holding that plaintiff's Federal Railroad Safety Act argument was unavailing, and that both blocking claims were preempted by the ICC Termination Act. Furthermore, plaintiff's claim that KCSR failed to adequately warn motorists of the obstructed crossing was barred by Mississippi’s Occupied Crossing Rule. View "Ezell v. Kansas City Southern Railway Co." on Justia Law

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The Interstate Commerce Termination Act (ICCTA) preempts state regulation of rail transportation, and in this case, the application of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) would not be inconsistent with the ICCTA and its preemption clause. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal, which determined that CEQA is preempted by federal law when the project to be approved involves railroad operations. The Supreme Court held that the ICCTA is not so broadly preemptive, and under the circumstances of this case, the ICCTA does not preempt the application of CEQA to the freight rail project that was the subject of this litigation. The court remanded the matter for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. View "Friends of Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit upheld the Department's final rule defining e-cigarette use as "smoking" for purposes of airplane travel under 49 U.S.C. 41706. The Department rested its authority for the regulation on two sections authorizing past aircraft smoking regulations, 49 U.S.C. 41706 (prohibition on "smoking" on scheduled passenger flights within, to, or from the United States) and 49 U.S.C. 41702 ("air carrier shall provide safe and adequate interstate air transportation"). The court held that a "smoking prohibition" reasonably applies to products intended to enable users to inhale and exhale nicotine; the regulation was not arbitrary; the Department acknowledged petitioners' contrary evidence and explained why the regulation was still warranted; and the Department did not impermissibly rely on new studies in the final rule, but instead included new supplementary information that expands on and confirms data in the rulemaking record. Because the court upheld the regulation under section 41706, the court need not address section 41702. View "Competitive Enterprise Institute v. DOT" on Justia Law

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A crane permanently attached to a truck chassis and associated tools do not qualify as cargo under 49 U.S.C. 31101(1), and therefore, the truck does not qualify as a commercial vehicle subject to registration and fee requirements under the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act (UCR). The Kansas Corporation Commission fined Appellant, whose truck was stopped by a highway patrol trooper, for failure to register and pay the fee required by the Act. Appellant requested a hearing to challenge the UCR violation. The Kansas Corporation Commission upheld the fine, concluding that Appellant’s truck was a commercial motor vehicle. The district court and court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and vacated the fine, holding that the Commission, district judge, and court of appeals erroneously affirmed the fine because Appellant’s crane and tools did not qualify as cargo, and therefore, the truck was not a commercial motor vehicle in Appellant’s fleet. View "Midwest Crane & Rigging, LLC v. Kansas Corp. Commission" on Justia Law

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National manufactures battery packs, including the lithium battery packs at issue (Batteries), which were regulated as hazardous materials. A Federal Aviation Administration agent inspected National’s Chicago facility and discovered that National made 11 air shipments of the Batteries to customers in California and Canada that did not comply with multiple hazardous material regulations (HMRs). The FAA filed a complaint. National’s vice president testified that he believed, without supporting evidence, the Batteries were exempt from testing because they were similar to previously tested batteries. The shipping papers indicated that each shipments conformed tp the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods. National’s office manager, certified each shipment, but her hazardous materials training was Department of Transportation specific and did not include training on the ICAO Technical Instructions. Because the Batteries were untested lithium batteries, they should have been packed according to the more stringent standards. An ALJ found that National knowingly violated the HMRs. The FAA assessed a civil penalty of $66,000 based on 49 U.S.C. 5123(c). The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review. A reasonable person in National’s position would have been aware of its violations; the penalty was within statutory limits, and rationally related to National’s multiple offenses View "National Power Corp. v. Federal Aviation Administration" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit granted consolidated petitions for review of the Board's Final Rule, holding that the Board exceeded its authority by promulgating a rule defining "on-time performance" under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-432, 122 Stat. 4907, after the Act's delegation to another agency was invalidated. In this case, the Final Rule expressly bases its authority on the need to fill the vacuum created by the invalidation of the on-time performance rule announced by the FRA and Amtrak under section 207 of the Act; the gap-filling rationale does not allow one agency to assume the authority expressly delegated to another; Congress likely did not give the FRA/Amtrak and the Board separate authority to develop two potentially conflicting on-time performance rules; and on-time performance in section 213(a) means on-time performance as developed by the FRA and Amtrak under section 207(a). View "Union Pacific Railroad Co. v. STB" on Justia Law

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291 Neb. Admin. Code ch. 3, 010.01C does not limit “open class” carriers to providing only prearranged transportation but allows carriers to also operate on a for-hire basis. Golden Plains Services Transportation, Inc. sought a declaratory ruling on the scope of services it could provide as an open class carrier. The Nebraska Public Service Commission interpreted Rule 010.01C to mean that “open class carriers may provide transportation to passengers for hire on a prearranged basis only” and may not “provide on-demand transportation services to passengers for hire.” The Supreme Court reversed and vacated the order releasing the Commission’s interpretation of Rule 010.01C, holding that the Commission’s interpretation was not supported by the language of such rule. View "In re Petition of Golden Plains Services Transportation, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit denied petitions for review of the FMCSA's statutory authority to issue permits for U.S. long-haul operations to Mexico-domiciled trucking companies. The panel held that the Teamsters and the Drivers Association have constitutional standing; the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 2007 encompasses the Teamsters' and the Drivers Association's claims; and the Teamsters and the Drivers Association also have third-party organizational standing. The panel also held that the grant of a long-haul operating permit to a Mexico-domiciled carrier and the denial of the Teamsters' challenge to that grant were final agency actions; the panel has Hobbs Act jurisdiction over the petition for review of the decision to grant Trajosa a permit; whether to grant long-haul authority based on the results of the pilot program was "committed to agency discretion by law" and was thus unreviewable; and therefore the panel may not review the FMCSA's decision to grant Trajosa an operating permit. View "International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. USDOT" on Justia Law