Fitzpatrick & Hunt Obtains Dismissal for Engine Manufacturer Due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

The U.S. District Court in Arizona granted Pratt & Whitney Canada’s, an aircraft engine manufacturer, motion to dismiss a property damage case during takeoff for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Court declined to exercise specific jurisdiction over Pratt & Whitney because there was no evidence that plaintiffs’ claims “arose out of” any contacts between Pratt & Whitney and the state of Arizona.

The owner and operator of a Piper Meridian aircraft filed a lawsuit against Piper Aircraft Inc. and Pratt & Whitney Canada for property damage to his aircraft resulting from loss of an engine during takeoff. The lawsuit was filed in Arizona and removed to federal court on diversity grounds. Both Piper and Pratt & Whitney filed motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

As residents of Arizona, the plaintiffs claimed they relied on information that Pratt & Whitney had service centers in the state when purchasing the aircraft; however, no competent evidence was provided that Pratt & Whitney actually had service centers in Arizona, and, however genuine, “[a plaintiff’s] belief cannot establish specific jurisdiction.”

Additionally, the Court declined to exercise general jurisdiction over Pratt & Whitney, a Canadian corporation with no corporate presence in the state of Arizona, under the standard established by the Supreme Court in Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746, 760 (2014).

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Fitzpatrick & Hunt, Pagano, Aubert, LLP serves clients in diverse areas, such as aviation and aerospace; general products liability; premises/construction/labor law; cyber security; insurance coverage; entertainment/media and employment law. Our offices are based in New York City; White Plains, New York; Los Angeles; and New Jersey.