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Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall

United States Supreme Court
466 U.S. 408 (1984)


Facts

Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. (Helicol) (defendant), a Colombian corporation, is engaged in the business of providing helicopter transportation for oil and construction companies in South America. Helicol contracted with Consorcio, a Peruvian joint venture founded by Texans, to assist in the construction of a pipeline. Negotiations for the deal occurred in Texas. The contract stated that all lawsuits arising out of the transaction would be tried in Peruvian courts. Helicol purchased approximately 80 percent of its helicopter fleet from another Texas company named Bell Helicopter. Helicol paid roughly $4 million dollars to the Texas company for the helicopters and their accessories. Potential pilots for Helicol were periodically sent to Fort Worth, Texas to receive flight training from Bell Helicopter. Helicol’s management team was also sent to Texas for training. On January 26, 1976, a helicopter owned by Helicol crashed in Peru, killing four United States citizens. Hall (plaintiff) and other representatives of the four decedents filed a wrongful death suit in a district court in Texas. Helicol made a special appearance to argue that the court lacked personal jurisdiction. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that Texas had personal jurisdiction. Helicol then petitioned for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, and the case was granted review.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Blackmun, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Dissent (Brennan, J.)

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