Civil Procedure Keyed to Yeazell
Piper Aircraft v. Reyno
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In 1976 a small commercial aircraft crashed in the Scottish highlands. The pilot and five passengers, all Scottish subjects and residents, were killed. The heirs and next of kin of all 6 victims were all also Scottish. The aircraft was manufactured in Pennsylvania by petitioner Piper Aircraft Co. The aircraft was owned and operated by a Scottish air taxi service. In July, 1977 a California probate court appointed Defendant Gaynell Reyno administratrix of the estates of the five passengers Defendant was not related to any of the passengers; she was merely the legal secretary to the attorney who filed this lawsuit. Several days after her appointment, Defendant commenced separate wrongful death actions against Plaintiffs Piper and Hartzell in California superior court claiming negligence and strict liability. Defendant admitted that suit was filed in the U.S., as opposed to Scotland, because of its more favorable laws regarding liability and damages. Plaintiffs first removed to federal court in California, and then successfully sought transfer to the Middle District of Pennsylvania, where Plaintiff does business. They then sought to dismiss the case on grounds of forum non conveniens.
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