The Express Preemption Provision Does Not Preempt Common-Law Tort Actions
In In Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (529 U.S. 861, 146 L. Ed. 2d 914, 120 S. Ct. 1913), the Supreme Court determined that the saving provision makes it clear that the express preemption provision does not preempt common-law tort actions.
However, the Supreme Court found that "nothing in the language of the saving clause suggests an intent to save state-law tort actions that conflict with federal regulations" (Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., supra, 529 U.S., at 869).
Thus, the Supreme Court proclaimed that in adjudicating whether a common-law action conflicts with FMVSS 208, ordinary preemption principles, grounded in longstanding precedent, apply (id. at 874, citing Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52, 67, 85 L. Ed. 581, 61 S. Ct. 399 [describing conflict preemption as preempting state law that "stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress"]; see also, Freightliner Corp. v. Myrick, 514 U.S. 280, 288, 131 L. Ed. 2d 385, 115 S. Ct. 1483  [the Act's preemption provision does not foreclose "any possibility of implied (conflict) preemption"]).