Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Grable — Air Crash — Arising Under Jurisdiction

Zahora v. Airmotive Corp., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17155 (E.D. Pa. March 8, 2007) was a wrongful death action arising out of a plane crash. The complaint alleged negligence, strict liability, misrepresentation, breach of warranty, and breach of contract. Plaintiffs filed suit in Pennsylvania state court, and the defendants removed on the basis of federal question jurisdiction, under Grable & Sons Metal Prods. v. Darue Eng'g & Mfg., 545 U.S. 308 (2005). The defendants argued that (1) they would assert the defense of their compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations and component parts, and (2) FAA regulations preempt the entire field of state aviation law. Plaintiffs moved to remand. Judge Thomas M. Golden stressed that ‛[l]itigating tort claims arising from an airplane crash ... is a necessarily fact-bound inquiry“ and that ‛[t]o exercise jurisdiction over this matter would risk attracting ‘a horde of original filings and removal cases raising other state claims with embedded federal issues’ [quoting Grable].... This risk is present not only in the aviation context, but also in other areas of extensive federal regulation, such as food and drug law.“ Held, motion to remand granted..

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