The opinion of the court was delivered by: HIGGINBOTHAM
On February 24, 1970, I filed an Opinion and entered a judgment awarding damages to the parents for the death of two minor children who were the victims of an airplane accident.
Having first determined that the estate of the pilot, Theodore H. Hart, was solely liable and exonerating the owner of the aircraft, National Aircraft Corporation, I awarded damages both under the Pennsylvania Survival Statute, 20 P.S. § 320.601 and under the death on the High Seas Act, (DOHSA), 46 U.S.C. §§ 761, 762. The awards, under the Pennsylvania Survival Statute, 20 P.S. § 320.601 were (1) Xavier Maxime Dugas, as administrator of the Estate of Kathryn Cecile Dugas, $15,000 and (2) Betty R. Guisinger, as administrator of the Estate of Christina M. Hart, $18,000. In addition, under the Death on the High Seas Act, the original awards were as follows: (1) Mrs. Virginia Dugas -- $15,000 plus interest, (2) Mr. Xavier Dugas -- $6,000 plus interest, and (3) Mrs. Betty R. Guisinger -- $17,000 plus interest.
The defendant appealed and on February 26, 1971 the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit filed an Opinion
remanding the case "for more specific findings on basic facts . . . as well as for a discussion of its (the District Court's) conclusions showing that all relevant factors have been considered in making any awards (as to the Death on the High Seas Act) which the record as supplemented . . . may justify:
1. The beneficiaries' ages, life expectancies, income and alternative means of support.
2. Annual sums which the children would have contributed to the parents.
3. Other future obligations which the children could have been expected to have in addition to their desire to help needy parents.
4. Method of reduction to present worth, including consideration of actuarial and present worth data.
5. Such other factors as the record, as supplemented, may make relevant.
It should be noted that the Court of Appeals affirmed my prior findings as to the liability of the pilot, the nonexclusivity of the remedy under the DOHSA, the $15,000 damages to Mr. & Mrs. Dugas and the $18,000 damages to Mrs. Guisinger awarded under the Pennsylvania Survival Statute. Thus, the remand only affected the amount of the award, if any, to be made under the DOHSA and not the liability of the pilot under the DOHSA which was established and affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
Supplemental Findings of Fact
1. On December 29, 1965, Kathryn Dugas and Christina Hart were sixteen years of age and in good health with the prospect of enjoying a normal life expectancy of 60.8 years.
2. On December 29, 1965, Virginia Dugas, the mother of Kathryn, was 41 years of age, with a probable life expectancy of 36.8 years. ...