Freightliner Corp. v. Myrick, 514 U.S. 280, 10 (1995)

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Cite as: 514 U. S. 280 (1995)

Opinion of the Court

engaged in a conflict pre-emption analysis of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, 79 Stat. 282, as amended, 15 U. S. C. 1331 et seq., and found "no general, inherent conflict between federal pre-emption of state warning requirements and the continued vitality of state common-law damages actions." 505 U. S., at 518. Our subsequent decisions have not read Cipollone to obviate the need for analysis of an individual statute's pre-emptive effects. See, e. g., CSX Transp., Inc. v. Easterwood, 507 U. S. 658, 673, n. 12 (1993) ("We reject petitioner's claim of implied 'conflict' pre-emption . . . on the basis of the preceding analysis"). At best, Cipollone supports an inference that an express pre-emption clause forecloses implied pre-emption; it does not establish a rule.


Petitioners' pre-emption argument is ultimately futile, however, because respondents' common-law actions do not conflict with federal law. First, it is not impossible for petitioners to comply with both federal and state law because there is simply no federal standard for a private party to comply with. Nothing in the Safety Act or its regulations currently regulates the use of ABS devices. As Standard 121 imposes no requirements either requiring or prohibiting ABS systems, tractor-trailer manufacturers are free to obey state standards concerning stopping distances and vehicle stability.

Second, we cannot say that the respondents' lawsuits frustrate "the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress." Hines, supra, at 67. In the absence of a promulgated safety standard, the Act simply fails to address the need for ABS devices at all. Further, Standard 121 currently has nothing to say concerning ABS devices one way or the other, and NHTSA has not ordered truck manufacturers to refrain from using ABS devices. A finding of liability against petitioners would undermine no


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