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Media: In New York Federal Pre-Emption Does Not Bar Manufacturer Liability When a Tour Bus Rolls Over but the State is Immune from Suit When a Tour Boat Sinks

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William D. Yoquinto was published in the Winter Edition of ALFA Product Liability Perspectives.  His article “In New York Federal Pre-Emption Does Not Bar Manufacturer Liability When a Tour Bus Rolls Over but the State is Immune From Suit When a Tour Boat Sinks” analyzes the Court’s decisions in Doomes v. Best Transit Corp., 17 N.Y.3d 594; 958 N.E.2d 188 (2001) and Metz v. State of New York, 2012 N.Y. LEXIS 35555; 2012 Slip Op 8172.

Specifically, the article compared the results in Doomes and Metz, two New York Court of Appeals cases concerning catastrophic tour bus and tour boat accidents.  In Doomes, a tour bus failed to install passenger seat belts, causing numerous injuries to passengers when the driver fell asleep, crashing the bus into the median strip and roll down an embankment.  In Metz, twenty people were killed when the Ethan Allen tour boat capsized and sank in Lake George.  Analysis of the cases indicate New York law provides that the pre-emption doctrine cannot be implied and a manufacturer can be liable under State law for an allegedly defective design when a relevant Federal safety standard fails to impose a specific duty for equipment on a bus; but that the State can escape responsibility  under the doctrine of sovereign immunity when it fails to comply with a clearly established inspection standard and actually certifies a vessel is safe for the passenger load carried when, tragically, it was not.   

William D. Yoquinto focuses his practice on all phases of defense, including trials and appeals, in matters relating to product liability, medical malpractice, pharmacy, professional licensing, and other liability claims.

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