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In re Air Crash Disaster Near Chicago, Illinois on May 25, 1979

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
644 F.2d 594 (1981)


Facts

On May 25, 1979, American Airlines (AA) (defendant) Flight 191 crashed in Illinois en route from Chicago to Los Angeles, killing 273 people. McDonnell Douglas Corporation (MDC) (defendant), which was headquartered in Missouri, had designed and manufactured the plane in California. AA, which was headquartered in New York, had maintained the plane in Oklahoma. Parties affected by the crash (plaintiffs), who resided in various jurisdictions, filed 118 wrongful death actions in Illinois, California, New York, Michigan, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Plaintiffs alleged that MDC was at fault in its design and manufacture of the plane, and that AA had failed to adequately maintain it. Compensatory and punitive damages were sought. Cases were consolidated for pretrial proceedings in the Northern District of Illinois. Defendants moved to strike claims for punitive damages. The district court struck the punitive damages claims against AA but allowed those against MDC to stand. Plaintiffs and MDC appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sprecher, J.)

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