A Pennsylvania federal judge has rejected engine maker Continental Motors Inc.’s request to alter a jury’s decision to award a U.S. Forest Service employee’s widow $2.75 million in a case arising out of a 2010 plane crash. U.S. District Judge J. Curtis Joyner said the company could not escape liability under the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 (GARA) because the company manufactured a replacement part for the engine not too long before the accident and the jury was provided sufficient evidence to determine what caused the crash. Judge Joyner wrote:
In reviewing the trial record of this case under the lens of the preceding authority, we find that plaintiff produced sufficient documentary and testimonial evidence at trial that Continental manufactured a replacement part which was installed in the accident aircraft’s engine some six years prior to the June 2010 crash so as to fall within GARA’s rolling provision.
The Act says that actions can’t be brought for damages related to death or injury caused by a plane crash if the aircraft was delivered more than 18 years before the accident or if parts that allegedly caused the crash were replaced more than 18 years prior. The separate estates of Forest Service employees Daniel Snider and Rodney Whiteman and pilot Patrick Jessup filed three lawsuits against Continental Motors. The suits arose out of the crash of a Cessna T210L aircraft equipped with a Continental Motors TSIO-520-H engine in 2010. All three of the occupants were killed in the crash.
The suits filed on behalf of Jessup and Whiteman were settled and only Snider’s suit went to trial. The jury returned a $2.75 million verdict in that case against Continental Motors. The engine maker then filed a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law in an effort to have the verdict altered, claiming that Snider’s claims fail under GARA.
The court determined that Snider’s estate sufficiently proved during trial that Continental Motors did manufacture a replacement part that was installed in the engine about six years before the crash, consequently falling within GARA’s “rolling provision.” The court also rejected Continental Motors’ contention that Snider failed to prove the replacement part caused the accident, calling the argument “meritless.” The court said Snider presented a “number of expert witnesses” and evidence that was “more than sufficient” to enable the jury to come to a conclusion.
Snider is represented by John R. Merinar Jr. and Allison B. Williams of Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. The suit is Elizabeth C. Snider et al. v. Sterling Airways Inc. et al, (case number 2:13-cv-02949) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.