Overview

Our product liability team defends aircraft and component-part manufacturers against product liability claims arising from aviation incidents and accidents. We have defended aircraft-component-part manufacturers through trial against wrongful death suits involving multiple fatalities. Our experience also encompasses representing businesses in the aviation industry both as plaintiffs and defendants in breach of contract and warranty disputes involving the quality of components or materials supplied and in recovery actions arising from retrofit campaigns and the resolution of tort claims arising from aviation incidents.

Thompson Hine’s Product Liability Litigation group has litigated thousands of matters throughout the U.S. and served as national counsel to a broad range of clients. By thoroughly understanding a client’s business, industry and goals and rigorously evaluating the factual and legal issues in each matter, we create a strategic defense approach that aligns with our client’s objectives and risk tolerance. Our use of sophisticated technology and proprietary budgeting and case management tools enables us to develop an efficient, cost-effective approach to litigation management and resolution. Whether we are addressing a single claim or mounting a defense in a class action or multidistrict litigation, our goal is to help our client achieve the most favorable outcome.

Experience

Illustrative examples of our experience include:

  • Securing a defense jury verdict on all claims for an aircraft components manufacturer in an eight-year long action arising from a fatal accident involving an allegedly defective exhaust system manufactured by our client’s predecessor.
  • Prevailing at trial for an aircraft components manufacturer facing negligence and strict product liability claims involving an allegedly defective deicing system. After more than five years of litigation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of all the defendants, finding that the plaintiff failed to prove any of his claims.
  • Obtaining a defense verdict in a $90 million action involving design and warning claims related to deicing equipment installed on a commercial aircraft that crashed, resulting in 29 fatalities. At trial, we obtained a directed verdict on the design claim and a defense jury verdict on the warning claim, which were both upheld on appeal.
  • Representing an aircraft components manufacturer after a commercial airliner’s in-flight engine fire and shutdown was linked to the failure of the manufacturer’s fuel spray nozzle, leading to the replacement of thousands of nozzles on hundreds of aircraft worldwide and millions of dollars in damages to the manufacturer and its insurer. We secured a highly favorable resolution by developing a case for liability against the forging supplier.
  • Achieving a favorable resolution for a European rotary aircraft manufacturer in an action arising from a fatal medevac helicopter crash that occurred when the helicopter attempted liftoff from a hospital roof in high wind.
  • Obtaining a dismissal of all claims against the leading manufacturer of general aviation global positioning systems in a product liability action arising from a fatal accident involving a single-engine aircraft.
  • Defending the world’s leading deicing equipment manufacturer against multiple claims arising from fatal crashes of cargo and private flights involving Cessna 208B Caravan aircraft.
  •  Obtaining summary judgment after extensive expert discovery in favor of an avionics manufacturer in a matter arising from an in-flight collision of two aircraft that resulted in four fatalities.
  • Defending an aircraft engine and component parts manufacturer against a personal injury claim after a magneto separated from an aircraft following takeoff, resulting in significant injuries to a businessman, who asserted a $20 million business interruption claim. We obtained dismissal of the claim, positioning the case for resolution.
  • Defending an aircraft maintenance provider against claims brought by the family of an Ohio resident killed in a commuter plane crash in North Carolina. Claims arising from the event were consolidated through multidistrict litigation, and the Ohio-based claims were resolved without significant expense.
  • Prevailing for a general aviation aircraft manufacturer in an action involving engine fire damage.
  • Defending a landing gear components manufacturer in a commercial dispute and prosecuting a counterclaim for unpaid amounts, successfully resolving the matter without a trial.
  • Counseling an aircraft maintenance company on resolving pre-suit claims arising from the fatal crash of a cargo aircraft, successfully avoiding costly litigation.
  • Obtaining summary judgment in favor of a component-part supplier against a breach of contract action brought by an OEM aircraft manufacturer and its insurer following the resolution of an aircraft incident. Through a declaratory judgment action, we established that the contract terms excluded the damages sought.