United States Aviation Underwriters v. Nabtesco

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Law
  • Date Filed: 10-02-2012
  • Case #: 11-35440
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Nelson for the Court; Circuit Judges Callahan and Hug
  • Full Text Opinion

The eighteen-year statue of ultimate repose under § 2(a)(1)(A) of the General Aviation Revitalization Act "commences with the delivery date of the used part to its first purchaser."

United States Aviation Underwriters (“USAU”) filed a subrogation claim against Nabtesco Corporation and Nabtesco Aerospace (“Nabtesco”), an aviation component part manufacturer, for damages resulting from an airplane runway accident. USAU alleged that the runway accident occurred as a result of “a defect in the nose landing gear actuator,” which was manufactured by Nabtesco. The actuator in question (“Actuator 339”) was originally manufactured and installed new in 1990 in a Cessna 550 aircraft. The actuator was subsequently removed and placed in another plane, which was “delivered to its first purchaser on December 30, 1991.” The district court granted Nabtesco’s motion for summary judgment, “holding that the delivery of the Cessna 550, the aircraft in which Actuator 339 was installed originally, triggered the eighteen-year statute of repose” under the General Aviation Revitalization Act (“GARA”), and therefore barred USAU’s action, because it fell outside the limitation period. USAU appealed, claiming that the text of GARA § 2(a)(1)(A) indicates that the statute of ultimate repose does not run until the “date of delivery of the accident aircraft in December 1991,” not the date of delivery of the original aircraft, and thus the suit was brought within the eighteen-year limitation period. The Ninth Circuit concluded that, while the text of GARA was ambiguous, the legislative history supported a finding that “the applicable limitation period commences with the delivery date of the used part to its first purchaser.” AFFIRMED.

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