US Airways, Inc. v. O'Donnell, No. 09-2271 - Contract Law - U.S. Tenth Circuit
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US Airways, Inc. v. O'Donnell, No. 09-2271

Action to Enjoin New Mexico From Regulating Alcohol on Flights

In US Airways, Inc. v. O'Donnell, No. 09-2271, an action in seeking to enjoin defendant New Mexico state officials from regulating, pursuant to the New Mexico Liquor Control Act (NMLCA), the alcoholic beverage service that airlines provided to passengers on flights, the court reversed summary judgment for defendants where New Mexico's regulatory scheme was impliedly preempted as it fell within the field of aviation safety that Congress intended federal law to occupy exclusively, but the Twenty-First Amendment required a balancing of New Mexico's core powers and the federal interests underlying the Federal Aviation Act.

As the court wrote:  "Plaintiff-Appellant US Airways, Inc. ("US Airways") filed this action in the
United States District Court for the District of New Mexico seeking to enjoin Defendants- Appellees New Mexico state officials ("New Mexico") from regulating, pursuant to the New Mexico Liquor Control Act ("NMLCA"), N.M. Stat. § 60-3A-1 et seq., the alcoholic beverage service that airlines provide to passengers on flights. The district court concluded that federal law does not preempt the NMLCA and granted summary judgment for New Mexico. US Airways appeals that decision."

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