O'Brien v. Cessna Aircraft Company

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O'Brien v. Cessna Aircraft Company

Case Number
S-15-1212
Call Date
December 6, 2016
Court Number
Douglas
Case Summary

S-15-1212 Patrick O'Brien (Appellant) v. The Cessna Aircraft Company, et al.

Douglas County, Judge Leigh Ann Retelsdorf

Attorneys: David A. Domina (Domina Law Group pcllo) and Robert W. Mullin (Houghton Bradford Whitted PCLLO) and Arthur A. Wolk, Cynthia M. Devers, Bradley J. Stoll (Wolk Law Firm, counsel admitted pro hac vice) for Appellant --- William R. Johnson and Brian J. Brislen (Lamson Dugan & Murray LLP) and Elizabeth B. Wright, Andrew H. Cox (Thompson Hine LLP, counsel admitted pro hac vice) for Appellee Goodrich Corporation --- Bryan S. Hatch (Likes Meyerson Hatch LLC) and John C. Nettles, Jr. (admitted pro hac vice) and Robin K. Carlson (Stinson Leonard Street LLP) for Cessna Aircraft Company

Civil: Negligence, strict liability, fraud

Proceedings below: A jury returned a verdict in Cessna, Goodrich, and Suburban Air's favor.

Issues: Error 1. The court failed to instruct the jury on O'Brien's design defect and negligence claims that 1) the Caravan was mis-designed without anti-ice systems, 2) the caravan was susceptible to ICTS, 3) Cessna's failure to comply with an FAA airworthiness directive mandating a revised flight manual and restrictive placard 4) Cessna failed to disclose adverse flight testing and certification revocation& and 5) Goodrich's and Cessna's failure to protect the chosen de-ice protection system from contamination and failure. Errors 2-33. The court erred by excluding I or more of 32 substantially similar Caravan crashes and the related testimony of O'Brien's expert Douglas Herlihy during the case in chief. Errors 34-35. The court erred by excluding E2l6l and FAA revocation of Caravan's 'moderate icing' certification through formal agency action both as substantive evidence, and as rebuttal. Errors 36-49. The court erred by excluding documents establishing Cessna's concealment from the FAA and pilots concerning the Caravan's susceptibility to ICTS. Error 50. The court erred by excluding evidence of Caravan's design change from deicing equipment to knock off accumulated ice to anti-ice protection to prevent ice accumulation altogether. Errors 51-61. The court erred by excluding Goodrich documents it designated as its own confidential 'bona fide trade secrets' on the grounds such documents lacked authenticity, were hearsay, or irrelevant. Error 62. The court erred by excluding testimony of O'Brien's radar reconstruction expert's opinions about flight speeds derived from radar. Error 63. The court failed to enforce its order compelling Cessna to produce flight test data, which deprived O'Brien of information his experts needed for their work and limited cross-examination of adverse experts. Error 64. The court granted summary judgment on punitive damages under Nebraska Law rather than applying Kansas Law to the issue. Error 65. Excessive costs were erroneously taxed to O'Brien.