Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Air Crash Over Southern Indian Ocean on March 8

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

January 10, 2020

In re: Air Crash Over the Southern Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014,
v.
Malaysia Airlines Berhad, doing business as Malaysia Airlines, et al., Appellees Elizabeth Smith, As personal representative of the Spouses, Next of Kin, Other Statutory Beneficiaries, and the Estates of the MH370 Passengers (See Complaint for Statutory Beneficiaries), et al., Appellants

          Argued November 25, 2019.

          Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 1:16-mc-01184)

          Stephen F. Rosenthal argued the cause for appellants Thomas C. Gaspard, et al. With him on the briefs was Floyd A. Wisner.

          Caitlyn E. Hubbard argued the cause for appellant Thomas Wood. With her on the briefs were Marianne M. Auld and Hugh G. Connor II.

          Mary Schiavo was on the brief for appellants Elizabeth Smith, et al. Jodi W. Flowers entered an appearance.

          Eric B. Wolff argued the cause for appellees. With him on the joint brief were Gregory F. Miller, Telly Andrews, and Richard A. Walker. Eric J. Rhine entered an appearance.

          Before: Wilkins and Rao, Circuit Judges, and Randolph, Senior Circuit Judge.

          OPINION

          Rao, Circuit Judge

         This appeal arises out of the unexplained disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 somewhere over the Southern Indian Ocean in the early hours of March 8, 2014. A series of extensive searches and investigations conducted over more than four years yielded no definitive answers as to the cause of this tragedy, and all passengers and crew members on board the flight are presumed dead. Representatives of many of the passengers filed lawsuits in the United States asserting, inter alia, Montreal Convention claims against Malaysia Airlines Systems Berhad, Malaysia's national airline at the time of Flight MH370, its current national airline, Malaysia Airlines Berhad, and the airlines' insurers, as well as state law products liability and wrongful death claims against Boeing, which manufactured the aircraft in question in Washington state.

         Those lawsuits were centralized into a multidistrict litigation in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and coordinated for pretrial purposes. Appellees moved jointly to dismiss for forum non conveniens and the district court granted that motion in full, concluding that Malaysia is a more convenient forum to hear all of the appellants' claims. While the Court has great sympathy for the victims of this tragedy and their families, we cannot disregard the narrow standard governing our review in this case. We conclude that the district court did not clearly abuse its discretion in dismissing appellants' lawsuits for forum non conveniens and affirm the decision in full.

         I.

         The district court's opinion recounts the factual history surrounding Flight MH370's disappearance and the ensuing investigations in detail. See In re Air Crash Over S. Indian Ocean, 352 F.Supp.3d 19 (D.D.C. 2018). We will therefore focus only on the facts pertinent to this appeal.

         Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia to Beijing, China, early in the morning on March 8, 2014. On board Flight MH370 were 227 passengers and 12 Malaysian crew members. The 227 passengers were of 14 nationalities, including 152 Chinese citizens, 38 Malaysian citizens, and 3 United States citizens. The aircraft in question was a Boeing 777-2H6ER that was designed and manufactured at Boeing's facility in Washington state and delivered to the airline in new condition in May 2002.

         An extensive search for the missing aircraft ensued following the plane's disappearance. The search team ultimately concluded that Flight MH370 likely crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean after running out of fuel, but neither the plane nor other critical pieces of evidence, such as the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, were recovered. In addition to the search for physical evidence, the Malaysian government took the lead on a separate civil investigation into why Flight MH370 had disappeared. This investigation culminated in a 449-page report, which concluded that while the investigation team was "unable to determine the real cause for the disappearance of MH370," human interference or error were more likely the cause of the plane's disappearance than aircraft or system malfunction. In connection with this investigation and a related criminal investigation, the civil investigation team and the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.