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Case 2:10-cv-03345-JCG Document 245 Filed 09/20/13 Page 1 of 30 Page ID #:8993

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

Case No. CV 10-3345 JCG

FINDINGS OF FACT AND
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

KRIS ELLIOT HIGLEY, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.

CESSNA AIRCRAFT CO., et al.,

Defendants.

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INTRODUCTION

The instant action involves a manufacturing defect claim against Defendant

Continental Motors, Inc. (“Defendant”). Plaintiffs Kris Elliot Higley and Molly
Lauren Higley (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) contend that Defendant manufactured a
defective fuel pump that was installed on a plane on which Plaintiffs were traveling.
That plane crashed in Namibia, Africa, on May 8, 2008 (the “Accident”).

From July 15 to July 19, 2013, the Court held a bifurcated bench trial to

consider the issue of Defendant’s liability on Plaintiffs’ manufacturing defect claim.
After carefully considering and weighing the evidence and arguments presented at
trial, including the evaluation of the demeanor and credibility of the witnesses and the
deposition testimony of unavailable witnesses, the Court finds and concludes as
follows.

Case 2:10-cv-03345-JCG Document 245 Filed 09/20/13 Page 2 of 30 Page ID #:8994

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SUMMARY

The Court is sympathetic to the injuries suffered by Plaintiffs. But based on the

evidence, Plaintiffs have failed to carry their burden of proof on their manufacturing
defect claim. The Court will not unnecessarily repeat its specific findings of fact and
conclusions of law as detailed below. Instead, the Court will briefly underscore its
chief rationales and the supporting evidence here.

As an initial matter, the Court concludes that the IO-550 Fuel Pump was, in fact,

on the Aircraft on the day of the Accident, and there is insufficient proof to justify
Defendant’s “scavenger” theory. Nonetheless, the Court cannot conclude that the IO-
550 Fuel Pump contained a defect when it left Defendant’s possession. The IO-550
Fuel Pump, in its basic and assembled form, was repeatedly inspected and tested, and
operated sufficiently for a hundred-plus hours prior to the Accident. Dr. Kar’s opinion
– that a defect existed from the start – rests too much on questionable results from the
Seal Labs testing, among other things. It is also notable that, a mere few days after the
Accident, the IO-550 Engine was tested. Although the measurements of the test could
have been more rigorous and precise, the evidence reveals that the IO-550 Engine,
including its fuel mixture, operated normally.

Further, Defendant’s expert credibly presented evidence that, if the IO-550 Fuel

Pump’s bushing were indeed spinning within its housing, as Plaintiffs contend, the
amount of torque required in such a situation would consequently break its coupling.
Yet, the coupling of the IO-550 Fuel Pump was found intact. Plaintiffs’ experts failed
to refute this potent contention. And while Plaintiffs advanced the position that the IO-
550 Fuel Pump was defective because the Aircraft reached 150 pounds per hour during
the takeoff, Defendant’s expert plausibly explained away such a spike and amplified
that, if such a dramatic fuel flow loss existed at the time, it would have been evident to
the pilot.

Now, it remains undisputed that Mr. Webb, a seemingly independent party,

found that the IO-550 Fuel Pump was defective when he received it. But Defendant’s

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expert piercingly explained that the “bluing” of the bushing, and the lack of bromine in
the IO-550 Fuel Pump, leads to the determination that the damage could not have
occurred on a running engine.

Additionally, the Court cannot conclude that a defect in the IO-550 Fuel Pump

was a substantial factor in causing Plaintiffs’ harm. The evidence presented at trial
sways the Court that the pilot, Dean McConnell (“McConnell”), was an inexperienced
and overconfident pilot. The Court is left with the firm impression that McConnell
failed to conduct critical calculations, follow standard aircraft control procedures,
consult pre-flight checklists and, last but not least, diligently check the fuel quantity.
The issue of fuel quantity merits elaboration. Prior to the Accident, McConnell
requested 310 pounds of fuel on the Aircraft. Yet, the fuel receipt reflects an addition
of only 185 pounds of fuel. Perhaps, as Plaintiffs’ suggest, McConnell was only
requesting a “topping off.” But in the context of all that occurred, including failing to
weigh passengers, the discrepancy of 125 pounds of fuel was not insignificant. This
discrepancy, together with Defendant’s supporting expert testimony on this point,
suggests that the Aircraft was, at a minimum, above suggested weight and, worse yet,
grossly overweight when it departed Eros Airport.

In the end, an unfortunate accident occurred and Mr. Webb received a damaged

IO-550 Fuel Pump. On this record, however, Plaintiffs fail to logically and causally
connect these two facts to Defendant, and the Court thus finds in favor of Defendant.
/ / /
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Case 2:10-cv-03345-JCG Document 245 Filed 09/20/13 Page 4 of 30 Page ID #:8996

JURISDICTION

The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

FINDINGS OF FACT

For ease of reference, the Court discusses the findings of fact in chronological

PARTIES
At the time of the Accident, Plaintiffs were citizens of the State of California.

order.
I.
1.
(Def. Supplemental Findings of Fact (“Supp. FOF”), at ¶¶ 1-2.)
2.
business in Mobile, Alabama. (Id., at ¶ 3.) Defendant manufactures piston engines for
small aircraft. (Id.)
II.

Defendant is a citizen of the State of Delaware, having its principal place of

BACKGROUND
A. Manufacturing of the IO-520 and IO-550 Engines and Fuel Pumps
The pertinent facts begin in 2004. On December 19, 2004, Defendant

In January of 2005, the IO-520 Engine and the IO-520 Fuel Pump were shipped

3.
manufactured an IO-520 engine, serial number 295376 (the “IO-520 Engine”), along
with its assembled fuel pump, serial number BO4JA223R (the “IO-520 Fuel Pump”).
(Tr. Exhs. 400, 413.) As was Defendant’s custom, a cooling shroud was placed over
the IO-520 Fuel Pump. (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 76:9-11.)
4.
to distributor Air Power, Inc., and then to Scenic Air PTY (LTD) (“Scenic Air”) in
Namibia. (Tr. Exhs. 400, 413; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 37:7-10.)
5.
installed on a Cessna 210M aircraft, registration number V5-LSO (the “Aircraft”). (Tr.
Exhs. 273, 377, 413; see also Stipulation of Facts (“Stip.”), at ¶ 15.)
6.
number T7848, was manufactured, inspected, and tested by TAT, an Israeli aerospace
components supplier, along with 170 other new basic fuel pumps. (Paul Eberly
Deposition, dated July 11, 2011 (“Eberly Dep.”), at pp. 15:19-18:19, 41:18-42:20;

On October 23, 2006, the IO-520 Engine and the IO-520 Fuel Pump were

Two and a half years later, in May of 2007, a new basic fuel pump, serial

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On October 16, 2007, the IO-550 Fuel Pump, like all assembled pumps

Defendant then manufactured an IO-550 fuel pump, serial number B07JA132R

Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 21:13-22:22; Tr. Exh. 638.) Each basic fuel pump was
comprised of a steel shaft, an aluminum housing, and a phosphorous bronze bushing.
(Eberly Dep., at pp. 44:19-48:20; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 95:1-7.) TAT’s basic
fuel pumps were tested as a unit, with data output measuring its performance. (Barton
Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 97:17-98:22, Vol. 3, at 12:3-7; Tr. Exhs. 209, 225, 377, 638.)
7.
The basic fuel pumps were then purchased by and shipped to Defendant as a
finished part. (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 95:8-16; Tr. Exh. 638.)
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(the “IO-550 Fuel Pump”), using one of TAT’s basic fuel pumps, serial number
T7848. (Eberly Dep., at pp. 14:11-16:23, 21:12-22:9; Tr. Exhs. 47, 377; Barton Tr.
Day 4, Vol. 3, at 21:13-22:22, 23:20-24:18.)
9.
manufactured by Defendant, was inspected on a fuel flow test bench to ensure that it
was defect-free and could run properly in its assembled state. (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol.
3, at 8:24-11:15; Tr. Exhs. 377, 644-45, 648-49; Def. Supp. FOF, at ¶ 34.) During the
testing, the IO-550 Fuel Pump operated within Defendant’s required quality control
specifications. (Def. Supp. FOF, at ¶ 35.) Defendant then placed the IO-550 Fuel
Pump in a sealed plastic bag and stored it in its warehouse. (D. Sommer Tr. Day 2, at
179:3-180:2; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 14:10-15:3.)
10. When Defendant began the process of building the IO-550 engine, serial number
289225 (the “IO-550 Engine”), the IO-550 Fuel Pump was pulled from storage and
tested once more. (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 29:19-31:18; Tr. Exhs. 652-53.) The
IO-550 Fuel Pump again passed Defendant’s inspections. (See Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol.
3, at 32:23-33:14; Tr. Exh. 225.)
11. On October 29, 2007, the IO-550 Fuel Pump was assembled to the IO-550
Engine. (Eberly Dep., at pp. 21:12-22; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 90:4-19, Vol. 3, at
28:13-29:15; Tr. Exh. 225; see Stip., at ¶ 19.) Defendant then conducted an engine test
on the fully assembled IO-550 Engine containing the IO-550 Fuel Pump, and again

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found that it was operating normally and within required specifications. (Def. Supp.
FOF, at ¶¶ 39-40; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 76:2-8; Tr. Exh. 225.)
Per custom, a cooling shroud was not placed over the IO-550 Fuel Pump during
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manufacturing. (C. Sommer Tr. Day 1, at 125:12-126:1; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at
76:2-8; Tr. Exh. 400.)

Regulation Protocols for Manufacturers of Aircraft Engines

B.
The Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) regulates all aspects of the

In order to manufacture an aircraft or aircraft engine, manufacturers must obtain,

13.
aviation industry, including the manufacture of aircraft and aircraft engines. (Barton
Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 86:24-87:16.)
14.
inter alia, a Production Certificate. (Def. Supp. FOF, at ¶ 11; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol.
2, at 87:17-88:18.) And, in order to obtain a Production Certificate, the FAA requires
manufacturers to maintain a reliable quality control system and inspection and test
procedures. (Def. Supp. FOF, at ¶¶ 11, 13; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 87:14-91:22,
92:12-14, 93:16-24; Tr. Exh. 676; Eberly Dep., at pp. 62:23-65:20.)
15. After a Production Certificate is issued by the FAA to the manufacturer, the
FAA continues to have constant oversight to ensure the manufacturer is in compliance
with the requirements of the Production Certificate. (Def. FOF, at ¶ 11.)
16.
systems. (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 94:13-25, 97:7-10.) In particular, the FAA
issued a Production Certificate and a Production Limitation Record to Defendant for
the IO-550 model engine. (Id.; Tr. Exhs. 373-376.) Similarly, the FAA also deemed
the Aircraft as airworthy. (C. Sommer Tr. Day 1, at 130:15-131:9; Edwards Tr. Day 3,
Vol. 2, at 153:23-154:8, 154:18-23.)

The FAA approved Defendant’s manufacturing process and its quality control

C.

Shipment of IO-550 Engine and IO-550 Fuel Pump to Namibia

17. On November 8, 2007, Defendant shipped the IO-550 Engine and the IO-550
Fuel Pump to Air Power, who then shipped both parts to Scenic Air in Namibia. (Tr.
Exhs. 413, 656; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 55:5-18; Stip., at ¶¶ 20-21.)

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Prior to its installation on an aircraft, however, a cooling shroud was placed over

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the IO-550 Fuel Pump, thus covering its serial and part numbers. (See, e.g., C.
Sommer Tr. Day 1, at 25:16-23 (stating that serial numbers may be etched on the
shroud with permanent marker), 22:16-23:2, 245:4-7; Tr. Exh. 201; Pls. Tr. Brief, at p.
5.)
19. On January 14, 2008, Scenic Air removed the IO-520 Engine and the IO-520
Fuel Pump from the Aircraft, and placed the parts in storage. (See Stip., at ¶ 16.) At
the time, the IO-520 Engine and the IO-520 Fuel Pump had a total operating time of
1,640 hours. (Pls. Supp. FOF, at ¶ 7.)
20. On the same day, Scenic Air installed the IO-550 Engine and the IO-550 Fuel
Pump in the Aircraft in accordance with Defendant’s installation requirements and
Namibian regulations, which included checking the Aircraft’s fuel pressure. (Barton
Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 37:2-38:23, 41:14-23, 42:4-44:11; Tr. Exhs. 212, 218, 273, 403,
406, 656-57.)
21. On March 18, 2008, the IO-520 Engine and the IO-520 Fuel Pump were
removed from storage and installed on a Cessna V5-Ten. (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at
37:14-38:13; Tr. Exh. 413.) One month later, the IO-520 Engine and the IO-520 Fuel
Pump were removed from service due to their hours limit after 2,041.7 hours of flight.
(Id.)

D. Mandatory Periodic Inspections

22. Relatedly, the FAA required periodic inspections of civil commercial aircraft,
both annually and every 100 hours of operation, during which the fuel pump, fuel
system, and fuel flows are inspected. (Tr. Exh. 215, Cessna Centurion 1978 Model
210M Pilot’s Operating Handbook (“POH”), at p. 8-5; Webb Deposition, dated
October 8, 2010 (“Webb Dep.”), at p. 47:13-24.)
23.
registered within the country, including a full check of their fuel system, in what is
known as a Mandatory Periodic Inspection (“MPI”). (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at

The Namibian Government also required periodic inspections of aircrafts

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Case 2:10-cv-03345-JCG Document 245 Filed 09/20/13 Page 8 of 30 Page ID #:9000

The first MPI of the Aircraft after installation of the IO-550 Engine was

39:9-25; Tr. Exh. 657; see Stip., at ¶ 13.)
24.
performed on January 14, 2008; the second MPI was conducted on March 7, 2008; and
the last MPI of the Aircraft was certified on May 8, 2008, at 8,656.4 airframe hours in
accordance with manuals and regulations, and was conducted after 180 hours of flight.
(Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 37:25-38:23, 39:9-41:13, 44:12-47:12; C. Sommer Day 1,
at 235:1-12; Tr. Exhs. 203-05, 273, 657; see also Stip., at ¶ 11.)
25. All applicable Airworthiness Directives and Service Bulletins on the Aircraft
were complied with during the three MPIs. (C. Sommer Tr. Day 1, at 136:14-140:3,
235:1-12; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 44:12-47:12; Eberly Dep., at p. 29:11-20; Tr.
Exhs. 200, 218, 657.)
III. THE ACCIDENT

Airport and Aircraft Conditions

A.
The Accident occurred on May 9, 2008 outside Eros Airport in Windhoek,

26.
Namibia during a scheduled flight to Mokuti Lodge. (Stip., at ¶¶ 1, 5.)
27.
The elevation of the Eros Airport was 5,584 feet above sea level, and the density
altitude was approximately 8,100 feet. (Jason Lukasik Deposition, dated July 11, 2011
(“Lukasik Dep.”), at p. 64:4-11; Tr. Exh. 202, at p. 9; Stip., at ¶ 7.) On the day of the
Accident, the outside air temperature was 72 degrees Fahrenheit. (Stip., at ¶ 6.)
28. At the time of the Accident, the Aircraft was registered to Scenic Air, (id. at ¶ 2),
and the IO-550 Engine had operated for a total of 198.2 hours since it was installed on
the Aircraft in January of 2008. (Id., at ¶ 18.)

B.

The Pilot’s Qualifications

29. Dean McConnell (“McConnell”) was the pilot in command for the Accident
flight. (See id., at ¶ 8.)
30. McConnell had a South African Commercial Pilot License with Instrument and
Night Ratings, issued on April 26, 2006, and a Namibian validation issued on May 5,
2008. (Id., at ¶ 9.) McConnell’s Medical Certificate was issued on April 10, 2008,

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and he had an aircraft type endorsement on his licenses. (Id.)
31. McConnell began working for Scenic Air on May 4, 2008, four days before the
Accident. (McConnell Deposition, dated Oct. 7, 2010 (“McConnell Dep.”), at p. 11:9-
22.) The Accident flight was McConnell’s first flight for Scenic Air, and was also his
first flight out of Eros Airport as a pilot in command with passengers. (Id., at pp. 25:4-
24, 32:35-33:9, 40:24-41:3; Stip., at ¶ 8.)
32. On the day of the Accident, McConnell had 711.38 total flying hours, with 30.5
hours in the 90 days prior to the Accident and 20.4 total hours in a Cessna 210 aircraft.
(Stip., at ¶ 10; Tr. Exh. 202, at p. 3.)

C. McConnell’s Flight Calculations Prior to the Accident

33. On the night before the Accident, McConnell conducted certain performance
calculations for the flight on a software program called “Easy Plan.” (McConnell
Dep., at pp. 34:12-35:4, 65:22-66:5, Exh. 18; Stip., at ¶ 41.) Scenic Air also provided
McConnell with passenger and baggage data, based on “average” weights for each
calculation, to generate his own weight and balance figures. (McConnell Dep., at pp.
44:8-45:23.)
34. McConnell, however, did not refer to any performance graphs or to the POH on
the night before the Accident, nor did he perform any relevant density calculations.
(Id., at pp. 36:19-22, 39:23-40:6; Tr. Exh. 215; Stip., at ¶ 42; Def. Request for
Admission (“RFA”) No. 64.) McConnell also could not remember whether he ever
reviewed the Cessna 210M Supplemental Pilot Operating Handbook (“SPOH”).
(McConnell Dep., at p. 58:20-24.)

D.

The Morning of the Accident

35. On the morning of the Accident, Scenic Air employees were performing
maintenance on the Aircraft up to the flight’s scheduled departure, causing a thirty
minute delay in the flight. (Id., at p. 59:12-18; Tr. Exh. 21-B.) McConnell was
“dismayed” at the delay and appeared “agitated” and “quite flustered about the whole
situation.” (Id.; Momsen Deposition, dated July 22, 2011 (“Momsen Dep.”), at pp.

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Then, McConnell requested refueling from Air BP, and asked that 125 liters per

21:7-22:5, Exh. 55.)
36. Once the Aircraft was ready, however, McConnell proceeded with his pre-flight
routine, including “sumping” the fuel tanks for water impurities. (Tr. Exh. 21-B.)
37.
main tank and 30 liters per tip tank be added to the Aircraft, for a total of 310 liters.
(McConnell Dep., at p. 122:12-19; Tr. Exh. 21-B.) McConnell, however, did not
remember how much fuel was in the Aircraft prior to Air BP’s refueling. (McConnell
Dep., at p. 93:29-22.) Nor did McConnell visually check the fuel quantity in the right
or left wing, as required by the POH. (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 18:14-19:2; Tr.
Exh. 215.)
38. McConnell thereafter noted that fuel caps were on and in place on the Aircraft,
but did not sump the fuel tanks again, as required by the POH. (Tr. Exh. 202, at p. 2;
Edwards Tr. Day 3, Vol. 2, at 155:25-156:25.) Nor did McConnell consult the POH’s
pre-flight checklist procedures, (POH, at p. 4), or any checklists as mandated by
Namibian regulations. (See McConnell Dep., at pp. 103:10-17; see also D. Sommer
Tr. Day 2, at 268:25-269:4, 269:22-270:25; Edwards Tr. Day 3, Vol. 2, at 117:1-
119:9.) Instead, McConnell relied on his memory to perform pre-flight, run-up, and
power checks. (McConnell Dep., at pp. 102:1-103:17.)

E.

Pre-flight Weight and Balance Calculations

39. On the day of the Accident, the Aircraft had an approximate empty weight of
2,310 pounds, was type certificated for a maximum gross weight of 3,800 pounds, and
was scheduled to carry four passengers, including Plaintiffs, during the Accident flight.
(POH, at p. 2-6; Stip., at ¶¶ 4, 38, 40.)
40. With respect to Scenic Air’s weight and balance requirements for passengers,
the company restricted luggage to 44 pounds (or 20 kilograms) per person, including
hand luggage. (McConnell Dep., at pp. 45:4-46:3, 83:17-84:8; Exh. 19.)
41.
Scenic Air’s company issued terminal scale (“T scale”), and thereafter “eyeballed” the

Prior to takeoff, McConnell weighed some of the passengers’ baggage with

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weight of the remaining luggage. (See McConnell Dep., at pp. 62:19-63:6, 78:9-79:14,
Exh. 18; see also D. Sommer Tr. Day 2, at 212:10-213:10.) McConnell, however, did
not tie down the luggage in the Aircraft as required by the POH. (McConnell Dep., at
pp. 62-63; POH, at p. 6-6.) Nor did McConnell “actually weigh each individual
passenger[.]” (McConnell. Dep., at p. 69:7-20.) Rather, McConnell asked each
passenger his or her own weight, and used that answer in his calculations. (Id.)
McConnell also opted to perform those calculations in kilograms rather than pounds.
(Id., at pp. 78:14-79:14; POH, at p. 6-6.)
42.
weight at 110.2 pounds, and fuel at 491.1 pounds, for a total weight of 3,783 pounds.
(Exh. 18.)

In all, McConnell calculated passenger weight at 3,181.7 pounds, baggage

F.

The Aircraft’s Takeoff and the Accident

43. After preparations for the flight were completed and the passengers and their
luggage were loaded, McConnell requested and received take-off clearance from the
Eros Airport tower. (McConnell Dep., at p. 100:8-16; M. Higley Tr. Day 3, Vol. 2, at
14:20-15:9.)
44. McConnell gave power to taxi onto the runway and simultaneously enriched the
engine mixture “approximately two turns so as to achieve the 130 [pounds] fuel flow
per hour required for Eros airports elevation.” (McConnell Dep., at p. 126:12-22; Tr.
Exh. 21-B.) McConnell testified that during this time, the Aircraft and its engine were
operating normally. (McConnell Dep., at pp. 103:24-104:1, 109:6-14; Barton Tr. Day
4, Vol. 3, at 48:6-18.)
45.
the fire station.” (McConnell Dep., at pp. 107:23-108:1.)
46. Once Airborne, McConnell distinctly remembered seeing the fuel flow increase
to 150 pounds per hour, and thereafter reducing it back to 130 pounds per hour. (Id., at
pp. 126:12-128:12, 133-34; Stip., at ¶ 33; Def. RFA No. 35.)
47. McConnell initially reported normal rotation and climb-out of the Aircraft.

The Aircraft thereafter departed on runway 01, and became airborne “just after

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(McConnell Dep., at pp. 108:7-109:17.) But, at about 50-150 feet above ground,
airspeed began to decay and McConnell “put the nose forward to maintain” speed.
(Id., at pp. 127:22-128:4; Tr. Exh. 21-B.) McConnell kept the landing gear and take-
off flaps (set at ten degrees) down. (McConnell Dep., at pp. 105:3-9, 109:10-111:16.)
The setting of the Aircraft’s flaps should have normally allowed a climb of
approximately 150 feet per minute. (POH, at pp. 5-12, 3; Lukasik Dep., at pp. 65:18-
66:19; Tr. Exh. 202, at p. 10.)
48. McConnell did not recall hearing any abnormal sounds from the engine, nor did
he recall observing any anomalies from the fuel flow indicator. (McConnell Dep., at
pp. 119:23-25, 129:24-130:3; Momsen Dep., at p. 44:6-9 (eyewitnesses reported that
the engine sounded normal).)
49.
Several people witnessed the takeoff from the ground. Eyewitness Marco De
Vres, for example, told investigators that “the aircraft sounded like it was running at
full throttle when it passed him at approximately 100 feet above the runway and
perpendicular to WestAir’s Hangar.” (Lukasik Dep., at p. 32:2-20; Tr. Exhs. 202,
243.)
50.
Eyewitness Diane Burger told investigators that “the aircraft appeared to have
departed the runway later than she was normally used to seeing” and “that it appeared
that the aircraft was hanging off of its propeller.” (Lukasik Dep., at p. 32:2-20;
Edwards Tr. Day 3, Vol. 2, at 134:13-135:7; Tr. Exhs. 202, 243.)
51. As the Aircraft’s airspeed continued to decay, McConnell applied intermediate
flaps (known as “bush flaps”) to the Aircraft, extending them to 18 degrees, contrary to
the POH requirements. (McConnell Dep., at pp. 111:17-112:7; Tr. Exh. 21-B; Barton
Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 24:14-15, 40:15-43:12.)
52. McConnell, however, did not use any written checklists or use the auxiliary fuel
pump after the airspeed decay. (McConnell Dep., at pp. 116:18-117:21; Edwards Tr.
Day 3, Vol. 2, at 123:7-124:4; see also POH, at p. 3-19 (“In the event of an engine-
driven fuel pump failure during takeoff, [pilots should] immediately hold the left half

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of the auxiliary fuel pump switch in the HI position until the airplane is well clear of
obstacles”); Tr. Exh. 215.) Nor did McConnell raise the landing gear at any point
during the entire flight sequence, as required by the POH. (McConnell Dep., at p.
119:7-13; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 24:7-15.)
53. McConnell eventually determined that the Aircraft was “beyond the point that
[he] could land [safely] back on the runway.” (McConnell Dep., at p. 110:6-19.) He
thus decided to land off the airport and, in the process, hit a tree, a high-tension power
wire, and thereafter impacted the ground. (Id., at pp. 112:17-113:5, 117:14-118:7.)
54. McConnell, Plaintiffs, and the other passengers on board sustained injuries as a
result of the Accident. (Tr. Exh. 202, at p. 2.)
55. Afterwards, McConnell reported that he believed the Accident was caused by
power loss, rather than a failure of the IO-550 Engine itself. (McConnell Dep., at p.
19:17-21.)
IV. POST-ACCIDENT EVENTS

Initial Namibian Investigation

To that end, on May 12, 2008, three days after the Accident, WestAir

A.
56.
Immediately after the Accident, an investigation was conducted by the Namibian
Ministry of Works and Transport Directorate of Aircraft Accident Investigations. (Tr.
Exh. 201.)
57.
Maintenance (“WestAir”), under the supervision of the Namibian investigators,
removed the IO-550 Engine from the Aircraft and installed it on another Cessna 206
airframe. (Lukasik Dep., at pp. 74:8-75:11; see also Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 73:3-
75:4.) WestAir then performed a series of test runs on the IO-550 Engine. (Id.; Tr.
Exh. 201, at 5.) During the test runs, WestAir ran the IO-550 Engine “up numerous
times to full throttle,” and reported that it performed normally “without any sort of
hesitation or . . . stumbling.” (Lukasik Dep., at p. 75:1-5; see also Stip., at ¶ 32.)
58.
The IO-550 Engine was thereafter stripped for further investigation, but no
abnormalities were discovered. (Tr. Exh. 200, at 5.) And, the coupling from the IO-

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550 Engine, which is designed to break when there is fuel pump stoppage, was found
intact. (See, e.g., Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 60:21-61:8, 64:10-65:1; Morris Tr. Day
5, Vol. 2, at 55:6-10; Eberly Dep., at p. 37:7-16; Tr. Exh. 343.) Investigators did not,
however, take the shroud off the IO-550 Fuel Pump during their investigation. (Pls.
Tr. Brief, at p. 7; Pl. Supp. FOF, at ¶ 16.)
59.
13, 2008 until June of 2009. (Lukasik Dep., at pp. 88:14-89:17; Tr. Exhs. 658-59.)

The IO-550 Engine remained in WestAir’s possession from approximately May

Original Namibian Civil Accident Report

B.
The Original Republic of Namibia Civil Accident Report (“Original Report”),
60.
dated June 1, 2009, concluded that pilot error caused the Accident. (Tr. Exh. 201, at
pp. 6-8.)
61.
intact and in normal operating condition” – as the fuel pump on the IO-550 Engine
during the Accident. (Tr. Exh. 201, App’x 16; Stip., at ¶ 22.)

The Original Report also identified the IO-520 Fuel Pump – which was “found

C.

Tests at Alton Air

62. Brian Webb was employed as a component overhaul fitter at Alton Air Services
(“Alton Air”) for over nine years. (Webb Dep., at p. 7:19-21.)
63. On August 12, 2009, WestAir sent Mr. Webb a fuel pump for a shockload
inspection. (Id., at pp. 9:13-11:14.) Upon examination, Mr. Webb identified the part
as the IO-550 Fuel Pump, though all of the accompanying paperwork mistakenly
identified it as the IO-520 Fuel Pump. (Id., at pp. 11:2-8, 15:6-9, 65:16-66:3; Momsen
Dep., at pp. 45:2-47:2, Exhs. 37, 58.)
64. On August 13 or 14, 2009, Mr. Webb disassembled and inspected the IO-550
Fuel Pump. (Webb Dep., at p. 17:3-16.) Mr. Webb neither tested the IO-550 Fuel
Pump nor operated it on a flow bench prior to disassembly. (Webb Dep., at pp. 20:22-
21:14, 37:7-24; Stip., at ¶¶ 30-31.)
65. During disassembly, Mr. Webb discovered the IO-550 Fuel Pump’s safety wire
and lead seal intact. (Webb Dep., at pp. 36:24-37:3.) Mr. Webb also noticed that the

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IO-550 Fuel Pump’s bushing, though loose in the housing, had seized onto the drive
shaft. (Id., at p. 23:17-24.) Mr. Webb was then able to remove the bushing from the
shaft “[b]y hand.” (Id., at p. 24:4-12.)
66. On August 19, 2009, Mr. Webb informed the Namibian authorities that the IO-
550 Fuel Pump was damaged. (Id., at pp. 13:6-24, 24:14-25:12, Exh. 26.)
Specifically, Mr. Webb stated that the IO-550 Fuel Pump’s drive shaft had been
binding in its bushing, causing the bush to turn within its housing. (Id.) The rubbing
of the bush, a “bronze-type” metal, against the housing, an aluminum metal, resulted in
“wear of bush and the housing,” and created a gap between the two metals. (Id.) Mr.
Webb concluded that “this gap [allowed] fuel to pass from the pressure side of the
pump . . . to the inlet side of the pump,” resulting in a “loss of fuel pump pressure and
a subsequent loss of fuel flow[.]” (Id., at p. 60:14-22, Exh. 33.)
67. Webb photographed the damage to the IO-550 Fuel Pump, and specifically
noted wear marks on the inside and outside diameters of the bushing and the steel
shaft, which itself contained white marks. (Id.; see also Eberly Dep., at p. 48:8-23.)
68. On August 21, 2009, Mr. Webb returned the disassembled IO-550 Fuel Pump to
WestAir. (Webb Dep., at p. 50:16-22.) Mr. Webb reported that he had never before
seen a fuel pump manufactured by Defendant in such a condition, but acknowledged
that the condition of the IO-550 Fuel Pump may have occurred on a fuel test bench.
(Id., at pp. 34:12-36:23, 56:2-10.)

D.

Revised Namibian Civil Accident Report

69. On November 9, 2009, the Revised Republic of Namibia Civil Accident Report
(“Revised Report”) was released, which adopted Mr. Webb’s findings and conclusions.
(Stip., at ¶¶ 23-24, 27-28; Tr. Exh. 200, at pp. 8-9, App’x 35.)
70.
(Tr. Exh. 200, at pp. 7-8.) In particular, the Revised Report noted that during
McConnell’s conversion training, the pilot in command recommended that McConnell
“familiarize himself with the fuel flow [] of the Turbo[,]” be “punctual on the after

The Revised Report found that McConnell was a novice pilot of the Aircraft.

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take-off checks regarding the engine settings . . . do some research on Turbo-Charges .
. .[and] remember to check the Aircraft Operation Manual [] and use EGT indication
when in doubt with regards to fuel flow [] during cruise and climbing.” (Id.; see also
Edwards Tr. Day 3, Vol. 2, at 115:15-116:25; Tr. Exh. 96.)
71.
any point prior to the release of the Revised Report. (Tr. Exh. 202, at p. 12.)

The Namibian Government did not inspect or examine the IO-550 Fuel Pump at

E.

The Parties’ Inspection of the IO-550 Fuel Pump

72. On October 6, 2010, Plaintiffs and Defendant inspected the disassembled IO-
550 Fuel Pump in Johannesburg, South Africa (the “South African inspection”).
(Lukasik Dep., at pp. 19:8-21:21; Tr. Exh. 202, at p. 15.) Using a calibrated digital
instrument, the parties took measurements of the inside and outside diameter of the
bushing, and the inside diameter of the housing. (Lukasik Dep., at p. 24:3-23.) The
measurements revealed a difference of 0.0043 inches between the inner diameter of the
housing and the outer diameter of the bushing. (Tr. Exh. 202, at p. 17.) The inside
diameter of the bushing also exhibited varying degrees of “thermal related bluing and
scoring.” (Id., at p. 16.)
73. Around the same period, a letter from Mr. P. Keil, Director of Maintenance at
WestAir, sent a letter to the Namibian investigators explaining the mistake in the
identification of the IO-550 Fuel Pump during the investigation of the Accident: “Our
Purchase Requisition No. 41428, reflects the serial number B04JA223-R, which is a
number that was written on the air cooling shroud with a permanent marker . . . Our
engineer unfortunately made a mistake. We confirm that the suspect fuel Pump Serial
No. B07JA132R actually went to Alton Air.” (Lukasik Dep., at pp. 71:14-83:20; Tr.
Exh. 51.)
74. On January 12, 2011, Defendant, along with its experts and investigators,
performed a fuel pump test on a calibrated production test bench (the “January 12
test”) to determine whether the conditions described by Mr. Webb, (supra, Ct. FOF, at
¶¶ 64-65), would result in a loss of fuel flow and engine power. (Lukasik Dep., at pp.

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34:18-35:22, 92:1-109:23; Eberly Dep., at pp. 54:19-62:10; Tr. Exh. 202, at 18.)
Measurements obtained during the South African inspection, (supra, Ct. FOF, at ¶ 72),
were used to simulate the operation of the IO-550 Fuel Pump. (Lukasik Dep., at pp.
34:18-35:22, 92:1-109:23; Eberly Dep., at pp. 54:19-62:10; Tr. Exh. 202, at 18.)
75.
The January 12 test determined that the conditions described by Mr. Webb
would not prevent fuel flow to the IO-550 Engine, nor would it cause a loss of engine
power or otherwise impact normal fuel flow and operation. (Tr. Exh. 202, at p. 20.)
The January 12 test also determined that a clearance of 0.0043 inches between the
bushing and housing would still allow a fuel flow capability of 115 pounds per hour
during flight. (Id.)

The Namibian Lawsuit

F.
Separately, on May 7, 2009, Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Namibia against Scenic

76.
Air (the “Namibian Lawsuit”), claiming that pilot error caused the Accident. (M.
Higley Tr. Day 3, Vol. 2, at 28:18-21, 32:7-36:5; Tr. Exh. 219.)
77.
Vol. 2, at 22:22-23:15; Tr. Exh. 219.)

Plaintiffs, however, later settled the Namibian Lawsuit. (M. Higley Tr. Day 3,

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

Preliminarily, the Court finds that the parties’ experts were all qualified to testify

Plaintiffs assert a single manufacturing defect claim, namely that the IO-550

78.
Fuel Pump manufactured by Defendant was defective when it left Defendant’s
possession. (Pls. Tr. Brief, at pp. 1-2.)
79.
as such at trial. (See C. Sommer Tr. Day 1, at 101:2-105:5; D. Sommer Tr. Day 2, at
60:8-81:6; Kar Tr. Day 3, Vol. 1, at 47:13-52:19; Edwards Tr. Day 3, Vol. 2, at 78:6-
114:13; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 49:24-54:18; Morris Tr. Day 4, Vol. 4, at 58:22-
63:19; see also Tr. Exhs. 96, 666.)
80. Next, and before it can reach the merits of Plaintiffs’ claim, the Court must
determine whether the IO-550 Fuel Pump, as opposed to the IO-520 Fuel Pump, was
indeed on the Aircraft at the time of the Accident, as Plaintiffs contend. (Pls. Supp.

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FOF, at ¶¶ 8-11, 13; Pls. Tr. Brief, at pp. 5, 6-7, 11, 24.)
81. Here, the weight of the evidence leads to the conclusion that the IO-550 Fuel
Pump was on the Aircraft on the day of the Accident. In particular, there is no credible
proof that the IO-550 Fuel Pump was ever removed from the IO-550 Engine after it
was installed on the Aircraft on January 14, 2008. (See, e.g., supra, Ct. FOF, at ¶¶ 19-
20; C. Sommer Tr. Day 1, at 138:10-139:8 (stating that Scenic Air had “very detailed
records showing exactly what was happening to the engine every single time they
serviced it.”); Edwards Tr. Day 4, Vol. 1, at 47:21-48:6, 68:3-15; see also Tr. Exhs.
400-05, 619, 621.)
82. Defendant has also failed to provide any reasonable explanation for why the IO-
520 Fuel Pump, with 1,640 hours logged, would be placed inside the brand new IO-
550 Engine. (See supra, Ct. FOF, at ¶¶ 19-21; Def. FOF, at ¶¶ 100-02, 110, 120, 129-
30; Def. Conclusions of Law (“COL”), at ¶ 10.) Instead, Mr. Edwards, Defendant’s
expert, appears to suggest that the IO-550 and the IO-520 Fuel Pumps may have been
“swapped” during routine troubleshooting at WestAir. (Edwards Tr. Day 4, Vol. 1, at
70:16-74:2.) In support thereof, Defendant notes that the IO-550 and IO-520 Fuel
Pumps were both removed from their respective Engines during the installation of the
IO-550 Engine on the Aircraft. This, in turn, explains why the IO-520 Fuel Pump
shroud was mistakenly placed over the IO-550 Fuel Pump. (Supra, Ct. FOF, at ¶¶ 18-
21; C. Sommer Tr. Day 1, at 125:4-126:1 (Defendant’s fuel pumps are designed and
shipped without shrouds), 153:10-156:4 (confirming that an inlet “cut out” was added
to the IO-520 shroud to accommodate the IO-550 Fuel Pump).)
83. Although the Court is cognizant of Defendant’s “scavenger theory,” (see
Lukasik Dep., at pp. 89:18-90:12; Momsen Dep., at pp. 39:13-40:17; C. Sommer Tr.
Day 1, at 140:4-12; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 1, at 18:22-25:10, 27:11-29:12, 39:9-24,
Vol. 3, at 59:9-15; Tr. Exhs. 202, 619), it remains unpersuaded. Not only is there a
lack of evidence to support such a theory, (supra, Ct. COL, at ¶¶ 81-82), there is also
no plausible explanation, supported by the evidence, why Scenic Air would fail to

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notify Defendant of a problem with the IO-550 Fuel Pump as soon as it came to its
attention. (Edwards Tr. Day 4, Vol. 1, at 71:13-75:4.)
Instead, the Court finds the straightforward argument to be the most convincing
84.
– namely, that the etched shroud from the IO-520 Engine was mistakenly placed on the
new IO-550 Engine, which housed the IO-550 Fuel Pump. Since the shroud covered
the IO-550 Fuel Pump’s serial and part numbers, the Namibian authorities mistakenly
identified the wrong fuel part during their investigation. (Supra, Ct. FOF, at ¶ 61; C.
Sommer Tr. Day 1, at 121:24-122:19; see Tr. Exh. 201.)
85. Having determined the preliminary matters before it, the Court now turns to the
merits of Plaintiffs’ claim. Specifically, to succeed on a manufacturing defect claim
under California law, Plaintiffs must prove that: (a) Defendant manufactured,
distributed, or sold the IO-550 Fuel Pump; (b) the IO-550 Fuel Pump contained a
manufacturing defect when it left Defendant’s possession; (c) Plaintiffs were harmed
while the IO-550 Fuel Pump was used in a reasonably foreseeable way; and (d) the IO-
550 Fuel Pump defect was a substantial factor in causing Plaintiffs’ harm. Soule v.
GM Corp., 8 Cal. 4th 548, 560 (1994); Cronin v. J.B.E. Olsen Corp., 8 Cal. 3d 121,
127-28 (1972); see also California Civil Jury Instructions (“CACI”) No. 1201.
86.
The Court first notes that neither side appears to contest that Defendant
manufactured the IO-550 Fuel Pump and, moreover, that certain damage did, in fact,
appear within that part. (Finkel Tr. Day 1, at 15:15-19; Skinner Tr. Day 5, Vol. 2, at
49:19-50:2.) Likewise, there is little dispute that Plaintiffs were harmed during the
Accident, which occurred while the IO-550 Fuel Pump was on the Aircraft. (Supra,
Ct. FOF, at ¶ 54; supra Ct. COL, at ¶¶ 81-84.)
87. Rather, the pertinent questions here appear to be two-fold, namely (1) did the
IO-550 Fuel Pump contain a manufacturing defect when it left Defendant’s
possession? and (2) was the defect a substantial factor in causing Plaintiffs’ harm? The
Court addresses each question in turn.
88.

First, with respect to whether the IO-550 Fuel Pump contained a manufacturing

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defect when it left Defendant’s possession, Plaintiffs contend that there is no evidence
that the IO-550 Fuel Pump was ever “altered or modified between the time it left
[Defendant] and the time of the crash.” (Pls. Supp. FOF, at ¶ 28; Pls. Supp. COL, at ¶
3(b).) Plaintiffs also note that when the IO-550 Fuel Pump was first opened after the
Accident, Mr. Webb determined that the defective drive shaft was too large and, as a
result, there was binding within its bushing, thus causing the Accident. (Pls. Supp.
FOF, at ¶¶ 40-44; Pls. Tr. Brief, at pp. 24-25.) Defendant, in turn, alleges that the IO-
550 Fuel Pump was not defective when it left its possession. (Def. Supp. FOF, at ¶¶
41-43; Def. Supp. COL, at ¶ 5.)
89. Here, and based on the unique circumstances of this case, the Court finds that
Plaintiffs have not met their burden of proving that the IO-550 Fuel Pump contained a
manufacturing defect when it left Defendant’s possession. Several reasons guide this
determination.
90.
First, there is no indication that the shaft was indeed too large to fit within its
bushing, as Plaintiffs’ expert assumes when applying the “slip stick” phenomenon.1
(See, e.g., Kar Tr. Day 3, Vol. 1, at 79:14-20, 81:1-82:8, 82:9-83:9, 83:12-14, 88:16-
22; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 71:18-72:21; Tr. Exhs. 606-612.) Initially, the Court
questions the accuracy of the shaft measurements relied on by Plaintiffs’ expert. (Kar
Tr. Day 3, Vol. 1, at 40:11-43:22.) As Defendant’s experts point out, not only do these

1 The “slip stick” theory suggests that an oversized shaft creates wear on the
bushing when it “sticks” to its inner diameter during rotation. (Kar Tr. Day 3, Vol. 1,
at 81:1-82:8.) The Court, however, finds Defendant’s theory relating to wear on the
bushing as more credible. In particular, Defendant explains that the marks on the inner
diameter of the bushing were simply the result of normal wear that occurs when a
harder surface (here, the steel shaft) rubs against a softer surface (the bronze bushing).
(Morris Tr. Day 5, Vol. 1, at 41:21-48:16.) And, moreover, it is unclear how the steel
shaft would “stick” to the soft surface of the bushing, as Dr. Kar contends, since it
appears likely that the bushing would break under such conditions. (Id., at 21:24-23:2;
Kar Tr. Day 3, Vol. 1, at 102:14-17 (Dr. Kar conceding that he did not test the
“hardness” of the metals).)

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Even putting questionable measurements aside momentarily, it is not altogether

measurements contradict those taken at the South African inspection (in which both
parties fully participated), but they were also taken with a less reliable instrument.
(Supra Ct. FOF, at ¶ 72; Kar Tr. Day 3, Vol. 1, at 112:21-113:14, 123:19-124:5
(agreeing that the testing laboratory, known as Seal Labs, “couldn’t get [the Hirox
microscope] to work properly,” and also stating that he did not know whether Seal
Labs calibrated the caliper); Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 75:9-20; Tr. Exh. 610.)
91.
clear how Defendant could have assembled an oversized shaft from the start, as it
would be infeasible to fit an oversized shaft into its bushing. (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol.
3, at 13:18-14:6, 71:18-73:18; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 13:22-14:5, 32:8-14; Morris
Tr. Day 5, Vol. 1, at 37:25-38:13, 43:15-46:12.) Even assuming that Defendant forced
an oversized shaft into the bushing, several questions then arise – perhaps most
poignantly, for instance, how was the IO-550 Fuel Pump able to function properly for
so many hours – and Plaintiffs fail to persuasively address such questions. (Barton Tr.
Day 4, Vol. 3, at 13:18-14:6, 71:18-73:18; Morris Tr. Day 5, Vol. 1, at 37:25-38:13.)
92.
inspected and tested for defects many times over the course of several years, including
at TAT in Israel and Defendant’s own testing facilities. (See supra, Ct. FOF, at ¶¶ 6,
9-11; Edwards Tr. Day 4, Vol. 1 at 48:25-50:19; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 12:12-17,
13:22-14:5, 32:8-22 (TAT and Defendant’s testing would have caught “slip stick”
phenomenon and whether shaft too large for bearing), Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 4, at
22:6-23:22, 25:16-26:4; Tr. Exhs. 647-654.) No defect or abnormality was ever
found.2 (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 23:11-19.)

Second, the IO-550 Fuel Pump, in both its basic and assembled form, was

2 Nor will the Court consider as evidence the absence of any prior, similar incidents
with the 200,000 plus fuel pumps manufactured by Defendant since the 1950s, or with
any of the 169 other basic fuel pumps manufactured, assembled, and tested by TAT.
Because Plaintiffs solely allege a manufacturing defect claim, rather than a design
defect claim, or any claim sounding in negligence, the Court may not consider such
evidence. See, e.g., Jones v. Pak-Mort Mfg. Co., 145 Ariz. 121, 129 n.4 (1985)

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Specifically, once the basic pumps are sent to Defendant, each is built to

93.
assembly, and tested again with its own specifications. (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at
20:9-21, 24:4-26:21, 25:13-26:9; supra, Ct. FOF, at ¶¶ 6, 9-11.) The assembled fuel
pump is later put on a test engine, and tested for another 1.5 hours. (Barton Tr. Day 4,
Vol. 3, at 20:9-18.)
94. After the IO-550 Fuel Pump was assembled to the IO-550 Engine in October of
2007, Defendant conducted still more tests. (See supra, Ct. FOF, at ¶ 10; Barton Tr.
Day 4, Vol. 3, at 20:9-21, 31:19-32:7, 33:6-35:22, 36:1-37:1; Tr. Exhs. 225, 655.)
Again, no defect or abnormality was detected. (Id.)
95. Nor can it be said that TAT or Defendant used improper quality control testing
mechanisms. (See id.; see also C. Sommer Tr. Day 1, at 56:2-9.) Plaintiffs argue that
Defendant provided no documentation substantiating TAT’s quality control
procedures. (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 4, at 22:6-23:15.) TAT’s procedures, however,
have been approved by the FAA. (Id., at 22:6-23:15.) And, TAT is not a “small shop”
in a “dingy. . . corner,” but is, instead, a “major operation . . . that has a reputation.”
(Finkel Tr. Day 5, Vol. 2, at 8:7-14.)
96.
Three MPIs were also conducted on the IO-550 Fuel Pump prior to the
Accident, (supra, Ct. FOF, at ¶¶ 23-25), the results of which were normal and
consistent with otherwise functioning fuel pumps. (C. Sommer Tr. Day 1, 235:1-12;
Edwards Tr. Day 3, Vol. 2, at 154:9-17; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 36:2-37:1, 37:25-

(“Cases involving a manufacturing flaw do not implicate the inherent design or quality
of the entire line of products in question, but only the quality of a particular unit or
number of units of that product. In such cases, the fact that the product as a whole has
a demonstrated safety-history is irrelevant.”); see also Lokai v. Mac Tools, Inc., 2007
WL 1666025, at *4 (S.D. Ohio June 5, 2007) (“The Court agrees with the reasoning in
Jones. If a certain product design is defective, the defect would be present in all
products sharing the defective design . . . A manufacturing defect, on the other hand,
may be present in only a single manufactured item. Hence, the absence of prior
accidents is not probative of whether a particular manufactured item contains a
manufacturing defect.”).

22

Case 2:10-cv-03345-JCG Document 245 Filed 09/20/13 Page 23 of 30 Page ID #:9015

Then, on May 12, 2008, mere days after the Accident, the IO-550 Fuel Pump

38:23, 39:9-41:13, 43:6-44:11, 45:6-48:2; Tr. Exhs. 203-05, 273, 657; see also Stip., at
¶ 11.)
97.
and IO-550 Engine were tested again, and no defect was detected (the “May 12 test”).
(See supra, Ct. FOF, at ¶ 57-58; Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 73:3-75:4, Vol. 3, at
51:23-52:11; see also C. Sommer Tr. Day 1, at 195:12-25 (Plaintiffs’ mechanical
engineering expert acknowledged that he had never seen a spun bushing before).) The
May 12 test also revealed that the IO-550 Engine accelerated properly to its highest
RPM and operated with a “full rich” fuel mixture. (Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 2, at 73:3-
75:4, Vol. 3, at 51:23-52:11.) The “full rich” indicator, in turn, suggested that the IO-
550 Fuel Pump was operating normally. (Id.)
98.
Third, the evidence at trial demonstrates that the coupling over the IO-550 Fuel
Pump did not break, as would be expected if the bushing were indeed spinning in its
housing during the Accident flight. (See, e.g., Barton Tr. Day 4, Vol. 3, at 60:21-61:8,
64:10-65:1; Morris Tr. Day 5, Vol. 2, at 55:1-10; Eberly Dep., at p. 37; Tr. Exh. 343.)
Plaintiffs, in reply,