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IN RE AIR CRASH DISASTER AT SIOUX CITY ON JULY 19

December 26, 1991

In Re: AIR CRASH DISASTER AT SIOUX CITY, IOWA, ON July 19, 1989

Conlon


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SUZANNE B. CONLON

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

 In this consolidated multidistrict litigation arising from an air crash at Sioux City, Iowa, plaintiffs Jan Brown, Donna McGrady and Susan White move for partial summary judgment on their strict products liability claims against defendants McDonnell Douglas Corporation and General Electric Company.

 BACKGROUND

 On July 19, 1989, United Airlines Flight 232 from Denver to Chicago crashed during an attempted emergency landing at Sioux City, Iowa. Of the 296 people on board, 112 were killed as a result of the crash. Plaintiffs were flight attendants on the ill-fated Flight 232.

 The doomed aircraft, owned and operated by United Airlines, was a DC-10 manufactured by McDonnell Douglas in California. Plaintiffs' facts para. 13; McDonnell Douglas' facts para. 5. General Electric designed and manufactured the CF6-6 engines used to power the aircraft, including the rear engine that failed in the Sioux City accident. Plaintiffs' facts para. 14. The number one fan disk that fragmented and caused the uncontained engine failure was also designed and manufactured by General Electric. Plaintiffs' facts para. 15. The subject fan disk contained an undetected metallurgical flaw called a hard alpha inclusion when General Electric sold the CF6-6 engine to McDonnell Douglas on January 22, 1972. Plaintiffs' facts paras. 15-16. The fragmentation of the General Electric fan disk occurred as a result of a fatigue crack that developed in the area of the hard alpha inclusion subsequent to the manufacture and sale of the engine. Plaintiffs' facts para. 24. The fatigue crack in the fan disk went undetected during regular maintenance shop inspections by United Airlines, including the final inspection of the fan disk conducted in October 1988. General Electric's facts para. 15 and additional facts paras. 8-9.

 DISCUSSION

 Plaintiffs move for summary judgment on their strict products liability claims against General Electric and McDonnell Douglas. Summary judgment must be granted when the record shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Colan v. Cutler-Hammer, Inc., 812 F.2d 357, 360 (7th Cir.)(per curiam), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 820, 98 L. Ed. 2d 42, 108 S. Ct. 79 (1987). A party opposing a motion for summary judgment must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986); Schroeder v. Lufthansa German Airlines, 875 F.2d 613, 620 (7th Cir. 1989). All reasonable factual inferences must be viewed in favor of the non-moving party. Holland v. Jefferson Nat'l Life Ins. Co., 883 F.2d 1307, 1312 (7th Cir. 1989).

 Consideration of plaintiffs' motions may proceed only on the basis of evidence that is admissible at trial. Colan v. Cutler-Hammer, Inc., 812 F.2d at 365 n.14 (7th Cir.); Turner v. Chicago Housing Authority, 760 F. Supp. 1299, 1302 (N.D. Ill. 1991). Plaintiffs' motions and accompanying 12(m) statement liberally refer to the National Transportation Safety Board's Accident Report ("the NTSB report") addressing the Sioux City accident. Plaintiffs may not use any portion of the NTSB report for any purpose at trial. See Memorandum Opinion and Order of December 20, 1991. Accordingly, the court shall not consider the NTSB report in deciding plaintiffs' present motions.

 I. General Electric

 Plaintiffs move for summary judgment on their strict liability claim against General Electric. As an initial matter, the parties appear to agree that the substantive law of Ohio should govern the issue of General Electric's liability. However, the question of which state's substantive law governs claims of liability against General Electric has not yet been addressed in these proceedings. Accordingly, the court will address the issue now.

 Plaintiffs each filed suit in an Illinois forum, thus Illinois choice of law rules apply. See Klaxon Co. v. Stentor Elec. Mfg. Co., 313 U.S. 487, 496, 85 L. Ed. 1477, 61 S. Ct. 1020, 49 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 515 (1941). Illinois applies the "most significant relationship" test to determine the applicable substantive law in tort actions. Ingersoll v. Klein, 46 Ill. 2d 42, 262 N.E.2d 593 (1970). Four contacts are particularly important in determining which state has the most significant relationship to the occurrence and the parties: (1) the place of injury, (2) the place of the conduct causing the injuries, (3) the domicile and place of business of the parties, and (4) the place where the parties' relationship is centered. Id., 46 Ill. 2d 47 at 47-48, 262 N.E.2d at 596.

 Iowa is the place of injury, the first contact under Illinois tort choice of law analysis. However, Iowa's interests have not been accorded great weight in earlier choice of law determinations during these proceedings, principally because the eventual crash in Iowa was entirely fortuitous, unforeseen emergency landing in Sioux City. In re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, 734 F. Supp. 1425, 1435 (N.D. Ill. 1990). The second contact, the place where the injury-causing conduct occurred, points to Ohio. Ohio has a substantial and ongoing interest in the present action because the allegedly defective fan disk was manufactured and installed in a General Electric engine at a General Electric plant in Ohio. Ohio's status as the place where the injury-causing conduct occurred ...


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