Massachusetts Court Discusses Conflicts of Law Analyses

Planes rarely crash, but when they do, the damages sustained are usually catastrophic. Plane crashes are typically caused by malfunctioning parts within the aircraft, and in many cases, more than one party bears liability. While parties have the right to seek compensation for losses caused by plane crashes, it may not be evident which jurisdiction’s laws apply to their claims. In a recent Massachusetts opinion, the court explained the analysis it must undergo to assess what laws are applicable. If you lost loved ones in a plane collision, it is in your best interest to contact a Cape Cod personal injury attorney about your options for seeking compensation.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that in October 2015, a plane crashed in Mexico, killing all four people that were aboard. The cause of the crash was determined to be a failure of the plane’s horizontal stabilizer actuator. The plane was owned by a Massachusetts corporation. In 2012, the owner sent the plane to a facility owned by another Massachusetts company, where it underwent an inspection, maintenance, and repairs of various parts, including the plane’s horizontal stabilizer actuator.

Allegedly, representatives of the estates of the people who died in the crash instituted a lawsuit against the owner and repair facility in a Massachusetts court, asserting claims of negligence and breach of warranty. The defendants moved for the court to apply Mexican law to the case, but their motion was denied.

Conflicts of Law Analysis

The parties agreed that there was a conflict between Massachusetts’ and Mexico’s law of damages, but they could not agree as to which laws applied. Thus, the court was required to engage in a choice of laws analysis, pursuant to the Massachusetts conflict of laws rules, to determine which state’s laws were applicable.

The court explained that Massachusetts follows a functional approach to the choice of law issue. The approach, which was guided by the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws,  assesses the interest of the states involved, the parties, and the interstate judicial system as a whole. In cases involving personal injury or death, the Restatement requires the application of the local law where the harm occurred, unless another state has a greater relationship to the incident and the parties with respect to one or more issues.

In the subject case, the plaintiffs argued that Massachusetts law had a greater connection to the occurrence and the parties. The court ultimately agreed and affirmed the trial court ruling.

Confer with an Experienced Cape Cod Attorney

Defective products can cause devastating injuries, and the parties responsible for manufacturing or maintaining such products may be held liable for any harm caused by their devices. If you lost a loved one in an accident caused by a defective product, you have the right to seek damages, and you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced personal injury lawyers of The Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, can advise you of your options and help you seek justice for your losses. You can contact us via our online form or by calling us at 888-262-6664 to set up a conference.

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