Vreeland v. Ferrer

Florida Supreme Court

71 So.3d 70 (Fla. 2012)

Federal law may preempt a state law tort claim when it (a) conflicts with federal law, (b) where Congress explicitly intends for preemption in the statute’s language, or (c) where Congress implicitly expressed intent to occupy the field.

Relevant Facts

Danny Ferrer leased an airplane from Aerolease of America, Inc. (collectively the defendants) for one year. The plane crashed killing the pilot and a passenger, Jose Martinez. John Vreeland (the plaintiff) was appointed the personal representative of Martinez’s estate, and filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendants asserting various state law tort claims, including a claim under the “dangerous instrumentality doctrine.” The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims were preempted by federal law under 42 U.S.C. §44112. The trial court found that the defendants were vicariously liable under Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine, but that federal law preempted the plaintiff’s claims.

The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff appealed. The court of appeals affirmed. The plaintiff appealed to the highest state court. The Florida Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

December 13, 2020

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Procedural History

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Citations

71 So.3d 70 (Fla. 2012)