Wisconsin Court of Appeals
Torts – Aviation – GARA — statute of repose
GARA precludes state law tort claims against manufacturers of airplanes for negligence occurring more than 18 years ago.
“By enacting GARA, Congress intended to prevent claims against manufacturers for actions they took more than eighteen years ago. See H.R. REP. 103-525(I). The fuel servo at issue in this case was manufactured more than 30 years prior to the accident, and the decision to use Loctite was made more than twenty years prior to the accident. We agree with the above decisions holding that the statute of repose applies to an attempt to sue a manufacturer for a design flaw in a component—ostensibly not for the design flaw in the component, but for the failure of the manufacturer’s manual to warn of, or adequately correct the flaw. The manual is not a separate product giving rise to a separate cause of action; it is evidence used to support failure to warn and instruct theories involving the manufacturer’s allegedly defective fuel servo. Allowing the plaintiffs to use artful pleadings to bypass GARA’s protections and sue Precision for actions it took in its capacity as a manufacturer outside of the repose period would undermine the legislative intent behind the statute of repose. We affirm the trial court’s grant of summary judgment barring plaintiffs’ claims pursuant to GARA’s statute of repose.”
Recommended for publication in the official reports.
Dist. II, Kenosha County, Bastianelli, J., Neubauer, J.
Attorneys: For Appellant: Milos, Mark, Kenosha; Borth, Paul, Chicago; Scoptur, Paul J., Milwaukee; Nisivaco, John L., Chicago; For Respondent: Nolan, Patrick S., Milwaukee; Meadows, Christopher G., Milwaukee; Buck, Jonathan, Chicago; Yang, David Y., Seattle, Wash.