ARTICLE: THE HELICOPTER CASE AND THE JURISPRUDENCE OF JURISDICTION. * Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1985 Southern California Law Review
University of Southern California

ARTICLE: THE HELICOPTER CASE AND THE JURISPRUDENCE OF JURISDICTION. *



* Copyright 1984 by Louise Weinberg.

May, 1985

Southern California Law Review

58 S. Cal. L. Rev. 913

Author

LOUISE WEINBERG **

Excerpt

I. THE HELICOPTER CASE

On January 26, 1976, a helicopter churning through deep fog over Peruvian jungle terrain crashed into a tree. All on board were killed. The craft had been ferrying pipeline workers to their jobsite. Among the dead were four United States citizens. Wrongful death actions were brought by their survivors in a Texas state court. Joined as parties defendant were the oil consortium that had hired the men, and the manufacturer of the craft, both Texas-based. Also joined was the owner-operator of the helicopter, a Colombian corporation.

The Texas place of trial seemed reasonable enough. None of the survivors or their decedents were Texan, but two of the three defendants were. Moreover, the business arrangements connecting the parties seemed either to have been negotiated or contracted for in Texas. The helicopter manufacturer had sold the craft to the Colombian transport company in Texas, and there had trained the latter's pilots on the new equipment. There the defendant employer had hired the plaintiffs' decedents, and had negotiated with the transport company to secure helicopter service for the pipeline job. But from the point of view of the Colombian transport company, Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. ("Helicol"), this was a lawsuit by nonresidents against another nonresident on a foreign cause of action. Helicol objected to the Texas court's jurisdiction.

The consolidated cases nevertheless went to the jury, and pilot error was found to have been the cause of the tragedy. The cases against the manufacturer and the ...
 
 
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