Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC

The Clark Building
400 20th Street North
Birmingham, AL 35203
205-581-0700 (phone)
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Summary Judgment for Cirrus Industries Inc. and Cirrus Design Corporation

Oct 28, 2008   Mobile, Ala.

Lightfoot attorneys recently obtained summary judgment for their clients, Cirrus Industries Inc. and Cirrus Design Corporation, on the eve of trial in Mobile County Circuit Court. Lightfoot attorneys Banks Sewell, William Brooks, and Jacob Tubbs represented Cirrus alongside counsel from ReedSmith, LLP.

Plaintiffs claimed that their decedent died in a plane crash in Angel Fire, New Mexico, as a result of the allegedly defective design of a Cirrus aircraft. Plaintiffs alleged that problems with the aircraft's fuel pump and airframe design led to an in-flight fire that filled the plane's cabin with smoke, disorienting the pilot and causing a fatal crash.

The trial court granted two crucial evidentiary motions that exposed the critical weaknesses in Plaintiffs' case: First, the Court agreed with Lightfoot's motion that the Plaintiffs' lead expert was unqualified to offer an opinion that a leaking fuel pump caused an in-flight fire, and excluded that expert entirely. Second, the Court granted Lightfoot's motion in limine regarding tainted blood sample evidence, agreeing that serious flaws in the chain of custody and the handling of the blood samples rendered them inadmissible as evidence that the pilot was exposed to an in-flight fire.

Finding that there was no admissible evidence that an in-flight fire affected the pilot, the trial court granted summary judgment in Cirrus's favor, dismissing all Plaintiffs' claims.
Practice areas mentioned:
Aviation and Aerospace