VENUTI v. CONTINENTAL MOTORS INC – Court Rules Continental Motors (CMI) Negligent Federal Appeals Upholds $2.75 Million Award
Verdict Against Continental Motors For Defective Engine Part Upheld By Appellate Court
This lawsuit stems from a deadly helicopter crash in Utah allegedly caused by a defective engine part manufactured by Continental Motors, Inc. (CMI). CMI, a nonresident corporation, moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion, concluding that CMI had sufficient minimum contacts with Utah to support specific jurisdiction.
Facts of the Case
Robin Venuti and Albert Rubio were killed in a helicopter crash near Green River, Utah, on April 6, 2014. The guardians of each victim’s children and the personal representatives of their estates (collectively, Plaintiffs) sued several defendants, including CMI, a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Mobile, Alabama. Plaintiffs alleged that the crash was caused by, among other things, a defective engine part manufactured by CMI. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed that a CMI magneto 1 used in the helicopter’s ignition system caused the engine to lose power during flight.A magneto or “magnetoelectric machine” is “an alternator with permanent magnets used to generate current for the ignition in an internal combustion engine.” Magneto, Merriam-Webster Online, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/magneto [https://perma.cc/XY2S-6WKX].
The jury awarded the plaintiff’s $2.75 million. CMI Appealed
A federal appeals court has upheld a $2.75 million jury verdict against Continental Motors Inc, the manufacturer of an aircraft engine that failed in a fatal 2010 plane crash.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday rejected Continental’s argument that a federal law protecting aircraft or component manufacturers from liability shielded it from a lawsuit brought by one of the crash victims’ relatives.
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