Jones v. Raytheon Aircraft Services, Inc.

120 S.W.3d 40 (2003)

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Jones v. Raytheon Aircraft Services, Inc.

Texas Court of Appeals
120 S.W.3d 40 (2003)

Facts

On March 29, 1995, a plane crashed in New Zealand, killing several people aboard. Both engines failed due to lack of fuel, despite there being enough fuel in the outboard fuel tanks. This might have happened because the fuel selectors were set to the wrong fuel tanks before takeoff. The plane was owned by a New Zealand company, but it had been manufactured and modified by United States-based Beech Aircraft Corporation and Raytheon Aircraft Services (collectively, the airplane makers) (defendants). The representatives of the decedents (collectively, Jones) (plaintiffs) sued the airplane makers in Texas state court. None of Jones were residents of the United States, nor did the witnesses relevant to the case have any relationship with the state of Texas. Prior to the crash, New Zealand implemented a no-fault accident-insurance system, which expanded its workers’-compensation system to include accidental injuries and deaths. This system, funded by employers as insurance, handled all claims without the involvement of the wrongdoer, and the beneficiary would receive a set amount of compensation each week. As part of this law, the victims—including Jones—could no longer bring lawsuits in the New Zealand courts if the injuries were covered by this insurance. The airplane makers moved to dismiss the case from the Texas court on the ground of forum non conveniens. The trial court granted the airplane makers’ motion, and Jones appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Angelini, J.)

Dissent (Marion, J.)

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