The Washington Supreme Court recently granted review of a
decision from the Washington Court of Appeals, affirming a trial
court's dismissal of state strict product liability and
negligence claims against a company that assembled and tested an
aircraft component. The action arose from a June 2008 private
aircraft crash in Washington in which the pilot and two passengers
perished. Suit was filed in Washington State Court against the
engine and carburetor manufacturers alleging claims of defective
design and manufacturing of the engine and carburetor. Plaintiff
also filed state law tort claims against FTI, a company that
provided assembling and testing services for the carburetor float.
FTI filed for summary judgment arguing that plaintiff's state
law claims are preempted by the Federal Aviation Regulations
establishing federal standards of care. The trial court agreed and
dismissed the Complaint, which alleged only state law causes of
On appeal, the Washington Court of Appeals narrowly phrased the
issue as: "whether the FAA and regulations adopted by the
Federal Aviation Administration pervasively regulate the area of
aircraft fuel systems, thereby preempting any state standard of
care for defects in the assembly and welding of the carburetor
float as to claims against FTI, a non-certificated
contractor." Plaintiff attempted to distinguish claims against
FAA-certificated contractors, such as the engine and carburetor
manufacturers, from claims asserted against a non-certificated
assembly and testing company such as FTI. The Court of Appeals
rejected the argument, stating that the status of the defendant as
a non—FAA certified manufacturer was of no import given the
pervasive federal regulation of the area of aircraft fuel systems.
The Court of Appeals concluded that because of this pervasive
federal regulation, plaintiff's state law claims against FTI
were preempted. The Court of Appeals subsequently denied
plaintiff's request for reconsideration, but the Washington
Supreme Court granted review last month.
Estate of Virgil Victor Becker Jr. v. Forward Technology
Industries, Inc., 192 Wn. App. 65, 365 P.3d 1273 (Wash. App.
2015), review granted, 185 Wn. 2d 1040 (August 3, 2016).
The UK Supreme Court last week issued the latest decision in a long-running attempt to enforce a US$150 million Nigerian arbitration award (IPCO (Nigeria) Limited v. Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation...
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