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Arab African Intern. Bank v. Epstein

argued: March 9, 1992.

J. MEADE WILLIAMSON AND F.D.I.B., INC.
v.
PIPER AIRCRAFT CORPORATION AND TELEDYNE CONTINENTAL MOTORS AIRCRAFT PRODUCTS DIVISION, A DIVISION OF TELEDYNE INDUSTRIES, INC., THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, AND UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. BRADEN'S FLYING SERVICE, INC., ROBERT S. MEJIA, PARKER HANNIFIN, AIRBORNE DIVISION, KENNETH E. DAVIS, ROBERT M. WRESKI AND F.D.I.B. AND MIL, INC., PARKER HANNIFIN, AIRBORNE DIVISION, APPELLANT IN NO. 91-1621, TELEDYNE CONTINENTAL MOTORS AIRCRAFT PRODUCTS, A DIVISION OF TELEDYNE INDUSTRIES, INC., APPELLANT IN NO. 91-1686; ROBERT S. MEJIA V. PIPER AIRCRAFT CORPORATION, AND TELEDYNE CONTINENTAL MOTORS AIRCRAFT PRODUCTS DIVISION, A DIVISION OF TELEDYNE INDUSTRIES, INC., AND PENN JERSEY PIPER SALES, INC., AND BRADEN'S FLYING SERVICE, INC., AND KENNETH E. DAVIS AND MARTIN W. WRESKI AND SHERRY M. MRAOVICH AND CYNTHIA M. PENKAVA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. J. MEADE WILLIAMSON, MIL, INC. AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS IN BANKING, INC. AND F.D.I.B., MIL, INC., AND J. MEADE WILLIAMSON PARKER HANNIFIN, AIRBORNE DIVISION, *FN* APPELLANT IN NO. 91-1622, TELEDYNE CONTINENTAL MOTORS AIRCRAFT PRODUCTS, A DIVISION OF TELEDYNE INDUSTRIES, INC., APPELLANT IN NO. 91-1687; J. MEADE WILLIAMSON AND F.D.I.B., INC. V. PIPER AIRCRAFT CORPORATION, TELEDYNE CONTINENTAL MOTORS AIRCRAFT PRODUCTS DIVISION, A DIVISION OF TELEDYNE INDUSTRIES, INC., KENNETH E. DAVIS AND ROBERT M. WRESKI V. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ROBERT S. MEJIA, BRADEN FLYING SERVICE, INC., SHERRY M. MRAOVICH AND CYNTHIA M. PENKAVA, PARKER HANNIFIN, AIRBORNE DIVISION V. F.D.I.B., MIL, INC. AND ROBERT S. MEJIA, PARKER HANNIFIN, AIRBORNE DIVISION, APPELLANT IN NO. 91-1623, TELEDYNE CONTINENTAL MOTORS AIRCRAFT PRODUCTS, A DIVISION OF TELEDYNE INDUSTRIES, INC., APPELLANT IN NO. 91-1688; JOHN T. KOCHIE, JR. AND PATRICIA KOCHIE, HIS WIFE V. PIPER AIRCRAFT CORPORATION, TELEDYNE INDUSTRIES, INC., PENN JERSEY PIPER SALES, INC., BRADEN'S FLYING SERVICE, INC., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. J. MEADE WILLIAMSON, KENNETH E. DAVIS, ROBERT M. WRESKI, BRADEN'S FLYING SERVICE, INC., SHERRY M. MRAOVICH, CYNTHIA M. PENKAVA, UNITED STATES, PARKER-HANNIFIN CORP., F.D.I.B., MIL, INC., AND F.D.I.B, INC., PARKER HANNIFIN, AIRBORNE DIVISION, APPELLANT IN NO. 91-1624, TELEDYNE CONTINENTAL MOTORS AIRCRAFT PRODUCTS, A DIVISION OF TELEDYNE INDUSTRIES, INC., APPELLANT IN NO. 91-1689; WILLIAM BERNHARD, III, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM BERNHARD, IV, DEC'D, AND WILLIAM BERNHARD, III AND SANDRA BERNHARD, IN THEIR OWN RIGHT V. PIPER AIRCRAFT CORPORATION, TELEDYNE CONTINENTAL MOTORS, INC. AND PENN JERSEY PIPER SALES, INC. V. J. MEADE WILLIAMSON, KENNETH E. DAVIS, ROBERT M. WRESKI, BRADEN'S FLYING SERVICE, INC., AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS IN BANKING, INC., T/A FDIB CORPORATION, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PARKER HANNIFIN, AIRBORNE DIVISION,*FN* APPELLANT IN NO. 91-1625, TELEDYNE CONTINENTAL MOTORS AIRCRAFT PRODUCTS, A DIVISION OF TELEDYNE INDUSTRIES, INC., APPELLANT IN NO. 91-1690; CAROL W. BELLWOAR V. TELEDYNE CONTINENTAL MOTORS INC., PIPER AIRCRAFT CORP., DAVIS AIRCRAFT PRODUCTS, INC., BRADEN'S FLYING SERVICES, INC., J. MEADE WILLIAMSON V. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, MARTIN WRESKI, KENNETH E. DAVIS, SHERRY M. MRAOVICH, CYNTHIA M. PENKAVA, PARKER HANNIFIN, AIRBORNE DIVISION, F.D.I.B. AND MIL, INC., F.D.I.B., INC., ROBERT S. MEJIA, J. MEADE WILLIAMSON, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PARKER HANNIFIN, AIRBORNE DIVISION, APPELLANT IN NO. 91-1626, TELEDYNE CONTINENTAL MOTORS AIRCRAFT PRODUCTS, A DIVISION OF TELEDYNE INDUSTRIES, INC., APPELLANT IN NO. 91-1691



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. (D.C. Civil Action No. 88-06260). (D.C. Civil Action No. 88-06880). (D.C. Civil Action No. 88-06881). (D.C. Civil Action No. 88-07405). (D.C. Civil Action No. 88-07977). (D.C. Civil Action No. 88-09591)

Present: Hutchinson, Alito and Higginbotham, Circuit Judges

Author: Hutchinson

Opinion OF THE COURT

HUTCHINSON, Circuit Judge.

Appellant Parker Hannifin Corporation, Airborne Division (Parker) appeals the district court's order denying Parker's post-trial motions for judgment n.o.v. or a new trial. Appellee Teledyne Continental Motors Aircraft Products (TCM) cross-appeals from the district court's denial of its motion for prejudgment interest. We will affirm.*fn1 Parker raises numerous issues on appeal. Only its argument that the district court erred in imposing a duty on it to provide installation instructions for the standby vacuum pump to Piper Aircraft Corporation (Piper) requires Discussion under evolving Pennsylvania law concerning the manufacturer of a product component's duty to warn.*fn2

I.

This case arose out of the crash of a Piper Malibu aircraft on August 15, 1986. Two occupants died and two were seriously injured. Product liability and negligence claims were filed against TCM, the engine manufacturer, Piper, the aircraft frame manufacturer, and the United States. Parker, manufacturer of the standby vacuum pump, Robert Mejia, the pilot, J. Meade Williamson/FDIB Ltd., the aircraft owner, and Braden's Flying Service (Braden's), a maintenance facility, were later joined as third party defendants. Before trial TCM settled all the plaintiffs' claims for $12.5 million and then sought contribution or indemnity from the other defendants. TCM eventually entered into settlement agreements with all the defendants except Piper, Parker and the United States.

TCM's claims for contribution or indemnity against Piper, Parker and the United States went to trial on January 22, 1991. The district court directed a verdict against TCM on its indemnity claims and only its contribution claim went to the jury. The jury returned a verdict apportioning liability 41% to TCM, 47% to Piper and 12% to Parker.*fn3 On February 25, 1991, judgment for contribution was entered in favor of TCM and against Piper for $5.8 million and in favor of TCM and against Parker for $1.5 million. Judgment was also entered in favor of the United States and against TCM. Parker filed post-trial motions seeking judgment n.o.v. or in the alternative, a new trial. TCM also filed a motion seeking pre-judgment interest. The motions were denied on June 26 and 28, 1991. On July 2, 1991, Piper filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. On July 23, 1991, TCM filed a motion in the district court "to amend the judgment to increase contribution" from Parker by requiring Parker to bear a portion of the shortfall created by Piper's bankruptcy filing.

On July 25, 1991, Parker filed its notice of appeal. TCM filed a cross-appeal on the district court's denial of its motion for pre-judgment interest. By Memorandum and Order of November 21, 1991, the district court recognized that it was without jurisdiction to grant TCM's motion to amend the judgment based on Piper's bankruptcy, but stated that it would grant the motion if we were to remand the case to it for that purpose. TCM moved for a remand. We took the motion for remand under advisement. Our Disposition of the appeal and cross-appeal without acting on it is the equivalent of a denial.*fn4

II.

On August 15, 1986, a Piper Malibu aircraft departed the Greater Pittsburgh airport to return to Philadelphia. Fifteen minutes after takeoff, the engine failed. The plane crashed while attempting to glide to the Allegheny Airport. The aircraft was designed and manufactured by Piper. Its engine was manufactured for Piper by TCM. A standby vacuum pump was attached to the engine by Piper. This pump was designed and manufactured by Parker specifically for the Piper Malibu aircraft. Parker also designed the standby vacuum pump joint that Piper used to attach the pump to the engine.

Vacuum pumps are used to drive certain flight instruments needed to pilot the airplane. They also provide the depressurized air that is used for de-icing the airplane. Seeking increased safety through redundance, Piper specified the use of a second standby vacuum pump if the primary pump happened to fail. Parker agreed to build the standby vacuum pump and to provide hardware to install it in the rear of the engine. Piper installed the standby vacuum pump on the engine. After consultation with TCM, Piper decided to use 70 inch-pounds of torque and an anaerobic adhesive known as Loctite 271 to attach both pumps to the engine. Parker was not involved in this decision.

The crash was investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and representatives of the parties. Piper and Parker theorized that the Malibu's problem was caused when engine No. 3's connecting rod and bearing failed under the stress of heat and friction which then blocked the flow of oil to the engine, resulting in its failure. TCM theorized that defective design of the vacuum pump joint used to attach the standby vacuum pump to the aircraft's engine, ...


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