RKC Birmingham Attorneys Win Summary Judgment in Aircraft Crash Case

05.29.13

Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell attorneys John Tally and Bert Spence recently obtained a judgment in favor of clients Tulsair Beechcraft, Inc. and Global Aerospace, Inc., in a product liability indemnity lawsuit in Mobile County, Alabama. The indemnity action arose out of a previous product liability action involving three deaths in the crash of an aircraft due to a right engine failure. The engine was manufactured by Continental Motors, Inc. Tulsair sold and installed the Continental engine, but had no other involvement in the failure of the aircraft. Continental settled all claims against it but paid nothing on behalf of Tulsair despite Tulsair’s demands. As a result, Global paid to settle the claims against Tulsair.

Pursuant to Alabama conflict of laws principles, Oklahoma substantive law governed both the previous product liability lawsuit and the subsequent indemnity lawsuit. RKC argued that Tulsair was a “seller” of the engine, and Continental was a “manufacturer” of the engine, within the meaning of those terms as used in Oklahoma Statute §12-832.1. RKC also argued that Continental was under a statutory obligation to indemnify Tulsair and Global for the amount of Tulsair’s settlement and attorney fees and costs in the first lawsuit also and in the case seeking indemnity. Mobile County Circuit Court Judge Michael A. Youngpeter agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of Tulsair and Global with leave to prove damages. Judge Youngpeter subsequently entered a judgment for Tulsair and Global and against Continental for the total amount claimed.

Tulsair Beechcraft, Inc. et al. v. Continental Motors, Inc. et al., 02-CV-2011-901235.