Claim Against Aviation Manufacturer Cases
Cases that involve statutes of repose have routinely applied such statutes to bar claims against successor manufacturers when the claim against the manufacturer is barred.
(See Allison v. ITE Imperial Corp. (S.D. Miss. 1990) 729 F. Supp. 45, 46; Henry v. Raynor Mfg. Co. (D.Minn. 1990) 753 F. Supp. 278, 279-280; Gardner v. Navistar Intern. Transp. Corp. (1991) 213 Ill.App.3d 242 157 Ill.Dec. 88, 571 N.E.2d 1107, 1108, 1114; Frankenmuth Mut. Ins. Co. v. Marlette Homes (1998) 456 Mich. 511, fn. 1 573 N.W.2d 611, 612; Jackson v. Coldspring Terrace Property (Tex.App. 1997) 939 S.W.2d 762, 764, 768-769 successor to franchisor entitled to benefit of statute of repose although not involved in actual construction of product).
This is a logical application of statutes of repose, which are product based and represent a legislative determination that once a product crosses the specified age threshold, claims arising from manufacturing defects are simply no longer viable.
The General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994 (GARA) cannot be interpreted in a way that would eviscerate its effect.
The phrase "in its capacity as a manufacturer" was intended to provide a limited exception for the situation where a party who was the manufacturer of an aircraft or of a component part also "committed some negligent act as a mechanic of an aircraft or as a pilot, and such act was a proximate cause of an accident." (GARA, H.R. No. 103-525(II), 103d Cong., 2d Sess., supra, p. 1649).
Precision was not acting in a role "as a mechanic" when it issued the service bulletins plaintiff claims should have been sent to the owners. We reject plaintiffs' claim that Precision undertook to service all Marvel-Schebler carburetors and thus stepped into the role of a mechanic.
The record shows that Precision undertook what it and its predecessors were required by law as manufacturers to do, namely to report defects, issue service bulletins and provide service instructions and information.