Plaintiff was employed as a welder and machinist who worked in locomotive repair and maintenance facilities. In 2005, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and filed suit in Pennsylvania State Court against 59 defendants, including respondents RFPC and Viad, who distributed locomotive brakeshoes locomotive engine valves containing asbestos. The Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA) provides that: A railroad carrier may use or allow to be used a locomotive or tender on its railroad line only when the locomotive or tender and its parts and appurtenances: (1) are in proper condition and safe to operate without unnecessary danger of personal injury; (2) have been inspected as required under this chapter and regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Transportation under this chapter; and (3) can withstand every test prescribed by the Secretary under this chapter. 49 U.S.C. §20701. Because petitioners’ failure-to-warn claims are directed at the equipment of locomotives, they fall within the pre-empted field – i.e.,the physical elements regulated, as opposed to the entity directly subject to regulation. Kurns v. R.R. Friction Products Corp., 132 S.Ct. 1261 (2012).
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