A Legal Tradition | Get the Essay

Long Essay (20 points total): Read the question at least two times before trying to outline your answer.  Identify all relevant causes of action and assign liability according to the legal tradition indicated by the facts of the question.  Include only your final answer.  Do not include any other material.  Add your answer to the end of this document, and AFTER you have added your short answers above.   INTRODUCTION   You are a law clerk to Judge Booker T. Jones.  Judge Jones has been assigned a case involving a terrible aviation disaster.  He needs to resolve the following cases:  Passenger v. Boeing, Delta, and TransGlobal Airways (“TGA”); Homeowner v. Boeing, Rockefeller, and TGA; House v. Boeing and TGA, Frantic v. TGA; and Rockefeller v. Boeing.  How should he resolve them? FACTS On August 1, 2011, a Boeing 747 jet exploded in mid-air near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, killing all of the passengers and crew on board and raining debris over a 100 square mile area encompassing parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania.  The debris, some of which consisted of large chunks of metal, caused substantial property damage on the ground.  The 747 had been manufactured by Boeing and sold to Delta Air Lines (“Delta”) in 2010 for regularly scheduled passenger flights.  After using the jetliner for such purposes for one year, Delta had sold the plane to Alvin Rockefeller (“Rocky”), for use as his personal plane.  About three weeks after the Delta-Rocky sale, TransGlobal Airways (“TGA”) leased the jetliner from Rocky to carry passengers commercially (on regularly scheduled flights) for a two-week period.  (TGA, a commercial carrier like Delta, was temporarily short of aircraft).   The cause of the August 1 explosion is unclear.  However, there are two theories, and one of the two is almost certainly correct.  One theory is that there was a spontaneous ignition of flammable vapors in the fuel tanks after the temperature in the fuel tanks rose to a certain level. Attorneys for Pete Passenger, whose estate is one of the litigants, introduced into evidence a September 2007 memorandum written by a Boeing engineer suggesting that the standard design philosophy of the aviation industry for the past forty years should be revised.  That standard philosophy is that a certain level of flammable fuel vapors in jetliner fuel tanks is inevitable and not particularly dangerous, and thus there is no need to reduce the level of flammable fuel vapors, so long as there are no potential sources of sparks in the vicinity of the fuel tanks.  (The September 2007 memo suggests that vapors should be reduced to the lowest possible level, which is substantially below the level of fuel vapors currently in the fuel tanks of jetliners.) Alternatively, there is some evidence to suggest that a part known as the trunculator, which is located near the fuel tanks in every type of jetliner currently in use and does not produce sparks when adjusted properly, may have created a spark which ignited the fuel.  The trunculator that Boeing initially installed in the 747 was removed and tested, at Rocky’s request, by High Flyer, Inc., a company Rocky used to maintain his personal aircraft. Rocky is very careful, and the testing of the trunculator performed pursuant to Rocky’s requests that High Flyer thoroughly examine all the parts of the plane.  (Most plane owners do not remove trunculators in order to test them because to do so, two technicians must spend 20 hours to remove and replace the trunculator and there is always a risk that it will be replaced improperly, preventing fuel from reaching the engine when the plane is at high altitudes, which itself can cause the plane to lose altitude and crash.)  High Flyer found that the trunculator produced sparks during testing and concluded it had been adjusted improperly. High Flyer sent the trunculator to ZZZ Parts (“ZZZ”) for repair. ZZZ did not do the repair work, but reported to High Flyer that it had.  High Flyer did not retest the trunculator, but merely reinstalled it in the 747. Pete Passenger was one of the 150 people killed on board the plane.  (Passenger survived the explosion and even his fall to the ground, but died 15 minutes thereafter of multiple, severe injuries.)  Harry A. Homeowner, a firefighter, and Hilda U. House, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, both had their homes destroyed by falling debris produced by the jetliner’s explosion.  Homeowner lives in Ohio, and his claim is governed by Ohio law, under which aviation is deemed to be an “abnormally dangerous activity” as defined in the Restatement (Second) of Torts. (No other party has claimed liability based on aviation being an “abnormally dangerous activity,” so such a theory should only be discussed in connection with Homeowner’s claims.)  House lives in Pennsylvania, and thus her claim is governed by the law of Pennsylvania, which does not consider aviation an “abnormally dangerous activity.”  Louise Lucky was scheduled to be on the flight but missed the plane.  Lucky had listed Fran Frantic as the person whom TGA should contact in the event of an emergency.  Frantic is a good friend of Lucky but is riot related to her.  TGA mistakenly informed Frantic that Lucky had been killed in the explosion. Frantic suffered extreme anguish for two days, until a final passenger list was released showing that Lucky was not on board the jetliner that exploded. QUESTION Again, Judge Jones needs to resolve the following cases:   Passenger v. Boeing, Delta, and TransGlobal Airways (TGA); Homeowner v. Boeing, Rockefeller, and TGA; House v. Boeing and TGA;  Frantic v. TGA; and  Rockefeller v. Boeing.  How should the Judge resolve them?

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