Pilots Association Wants SCOTUS Review of Airplane Product Liability Issue

Monday, November 21, 2016

Robert Bowman and Rachael Wallace comment on the recent request of an aircraft pilots association of the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that allowed states to impose their own safety standards in place of federal law.

An amicus brief from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) asks the Court to overturn a previous decision that provided for states to apply their own standards of care to the field of aviation product liability.

AOPA is asking the High Court to rule that the Federal Aviation Administration should have sole authority to regulate such standards of care, not states. AOPA aligned with aviation manufacturers to make its case.

Outside this case, AOPA’s alignment might seem counter-intuitive, Robert Bowman, pointed out.

“I found this AOPA brief interesting, because they help and support pilots, but in this case they came out in favor of manufacturers,” Rachael Wallace said.

“You would think they would support the pilot who died, but they supported the manufacturers in this instance due to the nature of the claims and the considerations for regulation within the industry. I think the Supreme Court will take note of that.

“Another reason is the circuit split. That also makes it more likely for the Supreme Court to grant review.”

To read the full article in Forbes, click here. 

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