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Guimei v. General Electric Co.

California Court of Appeal
91 Cal. Rptr. 3d 178 (2009)


Facts

A China Eastern Yunnan Airlines flight crashed into a lake in China, killing numerous people. Zhang Guimei and others (plaintiffs) sued General Electric Co. (GE), Bombardier, Inc. (Bombardier), and China Eastern Airlines Co., Ltd. (defendants) in California state court, alleging liability for the crash. The plane was made in Canada by Bombardier, a Canadian corporation. The engines were made by GE, which is incorporated in New York and its principal place of business is in Connecticut. The completed plane was sold in Quebec. The tickets were purchased in China, and the crew members were licensed in China. Except for one Indonesian citizen, the crash victims were all Chinese citizens. The defendants moved to dismiss or stay the California proceedings based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The defendants agreed to accept the jurisdiction of Chinese courts and to waive any statute-of-limitations defense if the action was filed in China within six months. The defendants also presented expert testimony that the Chinese courts are independent and provide an adequate forum. The trial court granted the motion and stayed the case. Guimei appealed to the California Court of Appeal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jackson, J.)

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