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Dalour Younan, Chad Hessenflow, Nancy Ruth v. Rolls-Royce Corporation

October 26, 2012

DALOUR YOUNAN, CHAD HESSENFLOW, NANCY RUTH BELL AND VICKI HESSENFLOW,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ROLLS-ROYCE CORPORATION , A WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY OF ROLLS ROYCE, PLC; AND MD HELICOPTERS, INC. (MDHI), A FOREIGN CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hayes, Judge

ORDER

The matter before the Court is the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Defendant MD Helicopters, Inc. (ECF No. 142).

BACKGROUND

On November 17, 2010, Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint ("Complaint") against Rolls Royce Corporation ("Rolls Royce"), MD Helicopters, Inc. ("MDHI"), and the Boeing Company ("Boeing"), regarding a 2009 helicopter accident in San Clemente, California. (ECF No. 33). On October 27, 2011, Defendant Boeing notified the Court of its settlement with Plaintiffs, and on December 13, 2011, all claims against Defendant Boeing were dismissed with prejudice. (ECF Nos. 63, 77). On July 12, 2012, Defendant Rolls Royce notified the Court of its settlement with Plaintiffs, and on August 23, 2012, all claims against Defendant Rolls Royce were dismissed with prejudice. (ECF Nos. 143, 155).

In the Complaint, Plaintiffs alleged two causes of action against Defendant MDHI. The first cause of action against MDHI alleged "negligence, negligence per se, and failure to warn." (ECF No. 33 at 11). Plaintiffs alleged that, as successive manufacturer of the accident helicopter and holder of the accident helicopter's Type Certificate, MDHI was responsible for the safe operation and continued airworthiness of the helicopter including informing owners, operators, and the Federal Aviation Administration of any design defects and performance capabilities of the helicopter. The second cause of action against Defendant MDHI alleged strict liability for design and manufacturing defects of the accident helicopter and its components. Plaintiffs alleged that the accident helicopter had defective engine components and autorotation characteristics.

On December 6, 2011, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 76). On February 3, 2012, the Court heard oral argument on the motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 83). On June 6, 2012, the Court issued an order denying summary judgment as to Plaintiffs' cause of action for negligent training and failure to warn, and granting summary judgment as to Plaintiffs' cause of action for strict liability. (ECF No. 131).

In the June 6, 2012 Order, the Court stated:

The Court finds that Plaintiffs have come forward with evidence of a genuine dispute as to the standard of care required by MDHI in providing helicopter training to CBP pilots and the adequacy of the training provided by MDHI. [FN2]

[FN2]. MDHI has made objections to Plaintiffs' proffered experts under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 589 (1993) .... The Court finds that Plaintiffs have come forward with evidence of a genuine dispute as to standard of care and causation, without prejudice to an objection on Daubert grounds at the motions in limine hearing. ...MDHI assumed liability from MDHS/Boeing "for causes of actions based on notices to customers, such as contained in maintenance manuals, service notices, etc., and arising from aircraft incidents occurring after the Closing Date [of the Purchase Agreement]." (ECF No. 76-27 at 15). Plaintiffs claim for negligent failure to warn regarding autorotational performance characteristics of the MD600N model helicopter falls within the causes of action for which MDHI has assumed liability from MDHS/Boeing in the 1999 asset transfer.

The Court finds that Plaintiffs have come forward with evidence of a genuine dispute as to whether MDHI was aware of problems with the autorotation performance in the MD600N model helicopter and failed to issue sufficient warnings to Plaintiffs or report the problems to the FAA as required under Federal Regulations. [FN5] Plaintiffs have come forward with evidence of a genuine dispute as to whether MDHI reasonably should have warned Plaintiffs as to the problems encountered in MD600N model helicopter autorotations.

Id. at 9-11.

On July 3, 2012, Defendant filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's Order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). (ECF No. 142). On July 24, 2012, Plaintiffs filed an opposition. (ECF No. 149). On July 30, 2012, Defendant filed a reply. (ECF No. 152). On July 26, 2012, Defendant filed an Application to Set Oral Argument on the motion. (ECF No. 150).

DISCUSSION

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) states, in part, that "any order or other decision ... that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties ... may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities." Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). Where reconsideration of a non-final order is sought, the court has ...


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