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Szantay v. Beech Aircraft Corporation

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
349 F.2d 60 (1965)


Facts

Elmer Szantay owned an airplane manufactured by Beech Aircraft Corporation (defendant). In March 1962, he flew the plane to Columbia, South Carolina and had the plane serviced by Dixie Aviation Company (defendant). Szantay began flying from Columbia to Chicago the next day, but the plane crashed in Tennessee, killing everyone on board. The victims were all Illinois citizens. The victims’ personal representatives (plaintiffs) sued Beech and Dixie in federal court in South Carolina, invoking the court’s diversity jurisdiction. The plaintiffs asserted wrongful-death claims arising under Tennessee law. Dixie was a South Carolina corporation that could be served only in South Carolina. Beech was incorporated in Delaware and had a principal place of business in Kansas, but the district court held that Beech had sufficient contacts with South Carolina to permit service on Beech in the state. Beech moved to quash service of process and to dismiss the complaints, arguing that the district court did not have jurisdiction over Beech because a South Carolina statute prohibited courts from exercising jurisdiction over suits brought by nonresidents against foreign corporations on foreign causes of action. Under the statute, the district court could not hear the actions brought by Illinois citizens against Beech, a foreign corporation, on a Tennessee cause of action. The court denied Beech’s motions, and Beech appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Sobeloff, J.)

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