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IN RE AIR CRASH DISASTER AT SIOUX CITY IOWA ON JUL

February 11, 1991

In re: AIR CRASH DISASTER AT SIOUX CITY IOWA ON JULY 19, 1989; WILLIAM BANKS, Individually and as Representative of the Estate of LOIS BANKS, Decedent, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED AIRLINES, INC., et al., Defendants


Suzanne B. Conlon, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: CONLON

SUZANNE B. CONLON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 In this action arising from an air crash at Sioux City, Iowa, plaintiffs William Banks, Jennifer Banks and Tracy Wilde (collectively, "plaintiffs") sue in their individual capacities and on behalf of the estate of Lois Banks, a passenger who was killed in the air crash. Plaintiffs sue United Airlines, Inc., McDonnell Douglas Corporation, General Electric Corporation and Parker Hannifin Corporation under theories of negligence, recklessness, strict liability, breach of warranty and breach of contract. Defendant Parker Hannifin Corporation ("Parker Hannifin") moves to dismiss Counts Twelve, Thirteen and Sixteen under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Parker Hannifin also moves to strike certain portions of the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). In the alternative, Parker Hannifin moves for a more definite statement. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e).

 BACKGROUND

 On a motion to dismiss, the court accepts as true the well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint and views those allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Gillman v. Burlington Northern R.R. Co., 878 F.2d 1020, 1022 (7th Cir. 1989). On July 19, 1989, United Airlines Flight 232 from Denver to Chicago crashed during an attempted emergency landing at Sioux City, Iowa. Complaint para. 27. The crash resulted from engine failure and a loss of hydraulic power. Id. Of the 296 passengers on board, 111 were killed in the crash. Id. P 50. The aircraft, owned and operated by United Airlines, was a DC-10 manufactured by McDonnell Douglas. Id. PP 14-15. General Electric manufactured the aircraft's engines; Parker Hannifin manufactured the hydraulic system installed in the airplane. Id. PP 18-19. The hydraulic system was manufactured at Parker Hannifin's Control Systems Division in Irvine, California. *fn1" Parker Hannifin maintains its principal place of business in Ohio. Parker Hannifin's brief on applicable state law at 2.

 Plaintiffs' decedent, Lois Banks, was a fare-paying passenger aboard Flight 232. Complaint para. 20. Prior to the accident, Lois Banks resided in Colorado with her husband William Banks. Plaintiffs' brief on applicable state law at 2. One of Lois' two daughters, Jennifer Banks, resides in California. Complaint para. 2. The other daughter, Tracy Wilde, lives in Colorado. Id. P 3. Plaintiffs originally filed this action in the Central District of California. The case was transferred to this court for pretrial purposes by order of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

 DISCUSSION

 I. Parker Hannifin's Motion to Dismiss Counts Twelve, Thirteen and Sixteen

 Generally, the federal system of notice pleading does not favor dismissal for failure to state a claim. Gray v. Dane County, 854 F.2d 179, 182 (7th Cir. 1988). However, dismissal is proper if it appears beyond doubt that a plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of her claim that would entitle her to the relief requested. Illinois Health Care Ass'n v. Illinois Dep't of Public Health, 879 F.2d 286, 288 (7th Cir. 1989), citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957).

 A. Applicable State Law

 A federal court ordinarily applies the choice of law principles of the state in which it sits. Klaxon Co. v. Stentor Electric Mfg. Co., 313 U.S. 487, 85 L. Ed. 1477, 61 S. Ct. 1020 (1941). When a case is transferred, the transferee court must apply the choice of law rules of the state where the transferor court sits. Van Dusen v. Barrack, 376 U.S. 612, 11 L. Ed. 2d 945, 84 S. Ct. 805 (1964); In re Air Crash Disaster Near Chicago (" Air Crash "), 644 F.2d 594, 610 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 878, 70 L. Ed. 2d 187, 102 S. Ct. 358 (1981). California courts favor application of California law wherever possible:

 
Generally speaking, the forum will apply its own rule of decision unless a party litigant timely invokes the law of a foreign state. In such event he must demonstrate that the latter rule of decision will further the interest of the foreign state and therefore that it is an appropriate one for the forum to apply to the case before it.

 Bernhard v. Harrah's Club, 16 Cal. 3d 313, 128 Cal. Rptr. 215, 217, 546 P.2d 719 cert. denied, 429 U.S. 859, 50 L. Ed. 2d 136, 97 S. Ct. 159 (1976). At the court's request, the parties briefed the choice of law issues governing plaintiffs' claims for punitive damages and breach of warranty. Both parties contend that ...


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