What is Preemption?
How Preemption Affects Product Liability Cases
It is clearly stated in the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution that the federal laws of the land reign supreme; meaning that any time in which a state law conflicts with a federal law, the federal law will always emerge as the victor. That being said, there are two ways in which preemptive intent can be determined – through express preemption and through implied preemption. Express preemption means that somewhere within the federal statute, it is clearly stated that the law trumps any corresponding state laws, typically in what is known as an express preemption clause.
On the other hand, there is what is known as implied preemption, which can be broken down into either conflict preemption or field preemption. Should conflict preemption occur, it simple means that a situation arises where it would be impossible to comply with both the federal law and the state law; for example, the state requiring something that federal law prohibits or even when abiding by state law creates an obstacle to abiding to thefederal regulations. When this occurs, the state law that is conflicting is preempted. Implied preemption can also occur through field preemption; this means that the federal government occupies an entire field to the point where the state government no longer has the means to supplement it.
In most cases, all cases of product liability are governed by state law, however, this is not always the case. In fact, in some situations, the federal government will specifically step in to protect a certain group of manufacturers or products. For this reason, in many product liability cases, defendants will use federal preemption as a defense – stating that a federal law preempts a statutory standard as set out by a state or even that the federal law prevents common law tort action being taken.
Talk to a product liability lawyer from our firm!
If you are embroiled in a product liability claim, it is in your best interests to get the involvement of Arnold & Itkin, LLP as soon as possible. We recognize the complications of preemption and we are prepared to help our clients by seeking precedents to help build the strongest case possible. At our firm, a
product liability attorney will be able to help seek the nuances to help build a watertight case that will be best suited towards arguing your point and thus helping to defend your legal rights. We recognize that many preceding cases may have been contradictory or there may be no precedents at all, but we are prepared to help you in every way possible. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help handle preemption defenses.
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To read more about preemption and how it has affected prior Supreme Court rulings, please click here.