M.C. Sungaila in Westlaw Journal Aviation: Justices Asked to Review 'Prevailing Party' Ruling in Wrongful-Death Suit


The adult children of a couple killed in a 2008 plane crash have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a California appeals court ruling that said a parts manufacturer, which a jury found negligent, is entitled to costs.

Lura Hess Bechtel and Johanna Hess’ petition for certiorari says the California Court of Appeal erroneously found Sandel Avionics Inc. was the prevailing party after a trial court reduced their verdict award to zero following a setoff from settlement in a related suit filed in New York. According to the petition, California procedural rules provide costs to the party that is deemed the prevailing party, or victor, in a lawsuit ...

M.C. Sungaila, a partner with Haynes and Boone and chair of the Amicus Curiae Committee of the International Association of Defense Counsel, who is not involved with the case, expressed doubt that the Supreme Court would review the petition.

“The petition here, while couched in terms of federal due process concerns, essentially challenges an intermediate appellate court’s application of state law and a purportedly unfair result between the parties involved,” Sungaila said. “Given this, the petition does not appear to have a particularly strong likelihood of success.”

Excerpted from Westlaw Journal Aviation, Vol. 33, Issue 16, OCT. 7, 2015. To read full article, click here.

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