Aviation Representative Cases
Airplane Seller Commercial Dispute
In a fraud and breach of contract case, received a favorable defense verdict in federal court for our client, a seller of an airplane. The purchaser of the airplane had alleged claims for breach of contract and fraud on the grounds that the plane was riddled with defects that were known to the seller and not disclosed prior to the sale. The purchaser of the plane sought damages in excess of $2 million. The defense offered to settle the matter for $25,000 prior to trial, but the plaintiff asked for $2.5 million. At trial, defense argued that the plane contained no more defects than would be expected for a used airplane and that the plane was always in an airworthy condition as deemed by the Federal Aviation Administration. The plaintiff contended that the airplane was not airworthy and that the plane had a substantial damage history that was not disclosed by defendant. After seven days of trial, the jury found in favor of defendant on the fraud claim and awarded only $40,696 for breach of contract -- a favorable defense verdict or Johnson & Bell’s client.
DuPage Helicopter Crash
Represented an aviation company based in Italy, Agusta S.p.a in product liability/ wrongful death case in the US involving a helicopter crash just south of DuPage Airport, involving a claimed defective rotor, arising from the failure of the tail rotor drive shaft bearings.
Aviation Company Commercial Dispute
Defended the President and Founder of an aviation services company in a commercial dispute. The lawsuit was filed by another aviation company who alleged the defendant used information gained while he was employed by the plaintiff to help launch his new company. The plaintiff’s complaint contained multiple charges, including breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
Defended an airline in personal injury litigation with issues regarding limitations on the action under the Warsaw Convention.
EU 261 Case
Obtained partial summary judgment in favor of our airline client in a breach of contract dispute argued in federal court. In this airline dispute, a passenger sued the airline for breach of contract and violation of the Montreal Convention and EU 261 (the European Union Regulation No. 261/2004) after her international flight to Chicago was delayed by several hours. The plaintiff alleged that the delayed flight caused her to miss a family reunion and a job interview for a position that had a salary of $45,000 per year. She also charged that the delayed flight led to her feeling ill and missing three days of work. Plaintiff also claimed additional expenditures for meals, local transportation and other items due to the delay. The plaintiff initially sought to represent a class action in this airline dispute, but abandoned her class claims. In their motion for partial summary judgment, Johnson & Bell argued that the plaintiff was not entitled to any compensation under EU 261 as the regulation is not enforceable in the United States. They also sought a ruling that their client was limited to compensating the plaintiff no more than $695 under the Montreal Convention. The court agreed with defense’s argument and granted its motion for partial summary judgment. As a result of our work, there are published opinions in the Northern District of Illinois denying plaintiff’s position that attorney’s fees are recoverable in these actions.
Defended Simmons Airlines (dba American Eagle) and Avions De Transport in 13 cases arising from an airplane crash in Roselawn, Indiana, including one that went to verdict. In that case, Plaintiff filed a suit seeking damages for wrongful death and pre-impact fear (recognized in New York where the trial took place). Plaintiff sought $5.5 million at trial. We countered with an offer of $1.4 million. Jury verdict for plaintiff and awarded damages of $2.8 million. Court reduced the verdict to $2.3 million.
North Carolina Commuter Airline Crash
Represented American Eagle, Inc. in a crash of an American Eagle British Aerospace Jetstream Super 31 twin-engine commuter near Morrisville, North Carolina. The aircraft crashed on final approach to the Raleigh/Durham International Airport after the crew improperly identified an engine failure and attempted a go-around, stalling the aircraft on approach. The accident killed 15 people while five survived.
Stevie Ray Vaughn Case
Represented Bell Helicopter in Vaughn, Jimmie, Adm. vs. Omniflight Helicopters, involving Bell Model 206B Jet Ranger Helicopter that crashed into a ski hill shortly after takeoff on a flight from Alpine Valley Music theatre near Elkhorn, Wisconsin, en route to Chicago Midway Airport.