Significant Victory for the Aviation Plaintiffs' Bar
In January 2006, Kreindler & Kreindler lawyers defeated an attempt by the defendants in an airplane crash product liability case to use the General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) to evade liability. GARA is a Federal law that precludes victims and their families from suing the manufacturer of a small airplane, or component part, if it is more than 18 years old.
The case arose out of the crash of a 1979 Cessna T210 aircraft at Teterboro airport in New Jersey on March 9, 2002, that took the life of William Sonn, the pilot and owner of the aircraft. Kreindler & Kreindler LLP represents the victim’s surviving widow and minor child.
Kreindler and Kreindler’s investigation found that the plane crashed because the air filter element that was installed in the plane was sucked into the engine, cutting air off to the engine and causing a loss of power.
A law suit was filed claiming that the air filter element, which was manufactured by Brackett Aero Filters (“Brackett”), was negligently designed because it could be installed in a plane in such a way that it could be sucked into the engine. Kreindler & Kreindler’s investigation also discovered that Brackett knew this could occur, but failed to warn about the danger.
The Brackett air filter element was originally installed in the plane in 1982, more than 18 years before the crash. However, it was replaced in December of 2001, less than four months before the crash.
Kreindler & Kreindler lawyers argued that the GARA 18-year time limit was restarted by the replacement of the new Brackett air filter element less than four months before the accident. The Court agreed and found that GARA did not shield Brackett and allowed the lawsuit to proceed.
Kreindler & Kreindler lawyers also convinced the Court to rule that GARA did not protect the distributor of the defective component, AAR Distribution, who remains liable under New York law for distributing a defective part.
The Kreindler & Kreindler lawyers working on this case are David Beekman, Brian Alexander, Daniel Rose, and Vince Parrett. Mr. Rose took the lead and argued this motion before Judge Shirley Werner Kornreich of the Supreme Court of New York, New York County.
Photo Credit: Cessna T210 airplane, Bidgee