Justia Florida Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Aviation
Vreeland, etc. v. Ferrer, etc., et al.
This case stemmed from respondent's agreement to lease an airplane from Aerolease of America, Inc. (Aerolease) and the subsequent plane crashed that occurred, which killed the pilot and his passenger. Petitioner, in his capacity as administrator ad litem and personal representative of the passenger's estate, filed a wrongful death action against Aerolease. At issue was whether the federal law currently codified at 49 U.S.C. 44112 preempted Florida state law with regard to the liability of aircraft owners under the dangerous instrumentality doctrine and, if it did, how broadly the scope of that preemption covered. The court held that the dangerous instrumentality doctrine imposed vicarious liability upon owners and lessors of aircraft, even where the aircraft was not within their immediate control or possession at the time of the loss. To the extent that the doctrine applied to injuries, damages, or deaths that occurred on the surface of the earth, the doctrine conflicted with, and was therefore preempted by, section 44112. However, because the death of the passenger occurred while he was a passenger in a plane that crashed, not on the ground beneath the plane, the wrongful death action filed by petitioner was not preempted by section 44112. Therefore, the dangerous instrumentality doctrine applied and the Second District erroneously affirmed the summary final judgment entered by the trial court in favor of Aerolease on the basis of federal preemption. View "Vreeland, etc. v. Ferrer, etc., et al." on Justia Law