United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
R. SÁNCHEZ, C.J.
personal injury action arises out of decedent Diane L.
Shields's (Mrs. Shields) exposure to asbestos during her
employment at the Motor Coils Manufacturing Company (Motor
Coils) plant in Braddock, Pennsylvania. Plaintiff Martin
Shields (Mr. Shields), as administrator of Mrs. Shields's
estate and in his own right, brings negligence, wrongful
death, and survivorship claims under Pennsylvania law.
Defendants Wabtec Corporation (Wabtec), successor to Motor
Coils, General Electric Co. (General Electric), and CBS
Corporation, successor to Westinghouse Electric Corporation
(CBS) have each moved for summary judgment pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Because Mr. Shields's
claims are preempted by the Locomotive Inspection Act, 49
U.S.C. § 20701, et seq., the Court will grant
many years, Motor Coils operated a manufacturing and
refurbishing facility in Braddock, Pennsylvania (Braddock
Plant). The Braddock Plant specifically
manufactured and refurbished traction motors used in railroad
locomotives. See Shields Dep. 22, Apr. 26,
2018.Approximately 65% of the work completed at
the Braddock Plant involved refurbishing traction motors.
Id. at 173-74. The Braddock Plant refurbished
approximately eight to ten traction motors per day, including
traction motors that were made by General Electric and
Westinghouse Electric Corporation.
Shields worked as a laborer at the Braddock Plant from 1990
to 1996. Mrs. Shields's position required her to clean
pinion gears-a subpart of the traction motors. The Braddock
Plant was a single-room building with no partition between
the refurbishing area and the cleaning area where Mrs.
Shields worked. See Id. at 30-31. Mrs. Shields was
exposed to asbestos in the Braddock Plant because her
workstation was located in close proximity to the
refurbishing area-which produced large amounts of dust.
See Id. at 31. Mrs. Shields also had secondary
exposure to asbestos when she laundered Mr. Shields's
dusty work clothing. In May 2014, Mrs. Shields was diagnosed
with lung cancer. After undergoing rounds of chemotherapy and
radiation treatment, Mrs. Shields passed away in February
April 2016, Mr. Shields commenced the instant action in the
Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. On June 6,
2018, Wabtec removed the action to this Court. This case was
initially consolidated under In re Asbestos Products
Liability Litigation (No. IV), MDL 875 (E.D. Pa.) and
assigned to the Honorable Eduardo C. Robreno for pretrial
matters. On July 9, 2019, Defendants filed separate motions
for summary judgment asserting Mr. Shields's claims are
preempted by the Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA). On
September 18, 2019, the case was reassigned to the
undersigned. The Court heard oral argument on Defendants'
motions on November 29, 2019. The motions are now ripe for
judgment shall be granted “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “Material” facts are those
facts “that might affect the outcome of the suit under
the governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A factual dispute is
“genuine” if “the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the [non-moving]
party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of the
[record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). To defeat summary judgment,
“the non-moving party must present more than a mere
scintilla of evidence; there must be evidence on which the
jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant].”
Burton v. Teleflex Inc., 707 F.3d 417, 425 (3d Cir.
2013) (alteration in original) (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). “Where the record taken as a
whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the
non-moving party, there is no ‘genuine issue for
trial.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citation
argue they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law
because Mr. Shields's claims are preempted by the
LIA's broad field preemption. Mr. Shields contends LIA
preemption does not apply to the traction motors at issue in
Supremacy Clause of Article VI provides that “federal
law ‘shall be the supreme Law of the Land . . . any
Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the
Contrary notwithstanding.'” Kurns v. R&R
Friction Prods. Corp., 565 U.S. 625, 631 (2012) (quoting
U.S. Const., Art. VI, cl. 2). Three types of federal
preemption exist: express preemption, implied conflict
preemption, and field preemption. Kurns v.
Chesterton, 620 F.3d 392, 395 (3d Cir. 2010),
aff'd sub nom. Kurns, 565 U.S. at 625. Field
preemption “arises when a state law or regulation
intrudes upon a ‘field reserved for federal
regulation.'” Id. at 396 (quoting
United States v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89, 111 (2000)).
“Where Congress occupies an entire field . . . even
complimentary state regulation is impermissible.”
Arizona v. United States, 567 U.S. 387 (2012).
sets forth safety standards applicable to all
“locomotives, ” their “tender, ” and
“all parts and appurtenances.” 49 U.S.C. §
20701. The LIA confers to the Secretary of Transportation,
the “general” power to address “the design,
the construction and the material of every part of the
locomotive and tender and of all appurtenances.”
See Napier v. Atlantic Coast Line R. Co., 272 U.S.
605, 611 (1926). The LIA does not contain an express
preemption clause. In Napier v. Atlantic Coast Line R.
Co., the United States Supreme Court held that the LIA
manifests the intention to occupy the entire field of
regulating locomotive equipment. Id.
in Kurns v. Railroad Friction Products Corp., the
Supreme Court reaffirmed the wide-breadth of the LIA's
field preemption. See 565 U.S. at 637. In
Kurns, the plaintiff alleged he developed
mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos from locomotive
brake shoes and insulation on locomotive boilers. See
Id. at 628.. The plaintiff brought state law claims for
defective design and failure to warn. Id. at 628-29.
The Supreme Court held that the field of preemption under the
LIA was “‘the entire field of regulating
locomotive equipment,' to the exclusion of state
regulation[, ]” which provides for no exceptions for
state common law duties or standards of care. Id. at
637 (quoting Napier, 272 U.S. at 611-12).
respect to the LIA's preemption of Mr. Shields's
claims, there are two issues before the Court. The Court must
determine (1) whether the traction motors at issue are parts
and appurtenances under the LIA; and (2) if so, whether
Kurns precludes Mr. Shields's common law claims.
The Court concludes that the traction motors at issue are