Friday, December 27, 2013

Hart v. American Airlines, Inc. case brief

Hart v. American Airlines, Inc. case brief summary
304 N.Y.S.2d 810 (N.Y. 1969)

The parties brought cross-motions for summary judgment in the Supreme Court of New York in a case involving the issue of collateral estoppel.

Plaintiff contended determination of defendant's liability in a Texas court, under the doctrine of collateral estoppel, was conclusive on the issue of defendant's liability for such crash in the actions brought by the plaintiffs.

  • The court stated that the issue of defendant airline's liability for the crash in which plaintiff's decedents perished was identical to the issue of liability litigated in the Texas action where defendant was similarly charged with responsibility for that same accident. 
  • Defendant had a full and fair opportunity to contest the issue of its liability in the course of the Texas action, and in order to defeat collateral estoppel on this ground, the burden rested on defendant to show that it had no such opportunity.

The court granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment stating that the defendant had the full opportunity to litigate the issue of liability in another forum.

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