Seventh Circuit Holds that Illinois Negligent Hiring Claim Is Preempted by the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act
By Melinda S. Kollross
In a unanimous opinion issued on July 18, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that an Illinois plaintiff’s negligent hiring claim was preempted under federal law and was not saved by any safety exceptions. Ying Ye, as Representative of the Estate of SHAWN LIN, deceased v. GlobalTranz Enterprises, Inc., No. 22-1805 (7th Cir. 7-18-2023).
In Ying Ye, plaintiff sued GlobalTranz following the death of her husband in a highway accident, claiming that the freight broker negligently hired the motor carrier that employed the driver of the truck that caused the accident. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the trial court’s decision dismissing the action on federal preemption grounds.
The Seventh Circuit held that the negligent hiring claim against GlobalTranz fell within § 14501(c)(1) of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, which expressly prohibited the enforcement of state laws “related to a … service of any …broker … with respect to the transportation of property.” The Seventh Circuit further held that plaintiff’s action was not saved by any safety exceptions under the Act. Specifically, the Court found an exemption for preemption was only applicable when there was a direct link between a state’s law and motor vehicle safety. The Court found there was no such direct link between negligent hiring claims against brokers and motor vehicle safety