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Use of NTSB Report in a Civil Action
     The New Jersey U.S. District Judge handling In Re Paulsboro Derailment Cases has recently ruled that the NTSB report concerning the train derailment may not be submitted to the court in opposition to defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment. The court stated that 49 U.S.C. § 1154(b) prohibits a report of the NTSB to be admitted into evidence or used in a civil action resulting from a matter mentioned in the report.

     According to the court, plaintiffs sought to utilize portions of the NTSB report to support their factual and legal position. But the district judge, citing several federal court of appeals decision, ruled that the references must be stricken. The Board’s need to secure full and frank discussions as to the probable cause of an accident and to prevent future accidents mandates the statutory prohibitions against use of a Board report in a civil action.   As the court says, the plain language of the statute is clear.  

© September, 2015, Law Offices of John C. Lane

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