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Cleveland Air Service, Inc. v. Pratt & Whitney Canada

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

September 30, 2014

CLEVELAND AIR SERVICE, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
PRATT & WHITNEY CANADA and PRO TURBINE, INC., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DEBRA M. BROWN, District Judge.

Before the Court is the motion of Defendant Pratt & Whitney Canada for summary judgment. For the reasons below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I

Summary Judgment Standard

"Summary judgment is appropriate when there are no genuine issues as to any material facts, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Norwegian Bulk Transp. A/S v. Int'l Marine Terminals P'ship, 520 F.3d 409, 411 (5th Cir. 2008) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)). To award summary judgment, "[a] court must be satisfied that no reasonable trier of fact could find for the nonmoving party or, in other words, that the evidence favoring the nonmoving party is insufficient to enable a reasonable jury to return a verdict in her favor." Id. at 411-12 (internal quotation marks omitted). To this end, "[t]he moving party bears the burden of establishing that there are no genuine issues of material fact." Id. at 412.

"If, as here, the nonmoving party bears the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may demonstrate that it is entitled to summary judgment by submitting affidavits or other similar evidence negating the nonmoving party's claim, or by pointing out to the district court the absence of evidence necessary to support the nonmoving party's case." Morris v. Covan World Wide Moving, Inc., 144 F.3d 377, 380 (5th Cir. 1998). If the moving party makes the necessary demonstration, "the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to show that summary judgment is inappropriate." Id. In making this showing, "the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and by her own affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Cotroneo v. Shaw Env't & Infrastructure, Inc., 639 F.3d 186, 191-92 (5th Cir. 2011) (internal punctuation omitted). When considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court "resolve[s] factual controversies in favor of the nonmoving party." Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).

II

Factual and Procedural Background

Plaintiff Cleveland Air Service, Inc., operates agricultural aircraft. Defendant Pratt & Whitney Canada ("Pratt & Whitney") designs, manufactures, distributes, markets, and sells aircraft engines. In 1998, Pratt & Whitney manufactured a PT6A-67AG turbine engine ("Engine"). In 1999, the Engine was sold to Air Tractor, Inc., and installed in an Air Tractor AT-802A agricultural aircraft, which was sold to Plaintiff.

The Engine was delivered with a warranty that it would be free from defects in material and workmanship appearing within the first 1, 000 hours of operation.

In December 2009, Pratt & Whitney issued a revised warranty policy ("2009 Warranty"). The 2009 Warranty provided that "[t]his warranty document supercedes [sic] the Turbine Engine Warranty and Service Policy issued August 1998 and the applicable annexes." Pursuant to the terms of the 2009 Warranty, Pratt and Whitney warranted against defects in material or workmanship appearing within the first 1, 000 hours of operation. Following expiration of the basic coverage period, the warranty also offered a primary parts service policy that provided pro rata coverage for certain parts. The amount of the coverage, if any, depended on the number of hours the engine operated. Among the covered parts were: blade-compressor, power turbine, and blade-compressor rotor assembly. Under the terms of the 2009 Warranty, coverage expired when the engine reaches the point of overhaul, which is known as Time Between Overhaul ("TBO"). For the PT6A-67AG engine, the TBO is 3, 000 hours.

On September 5, 2012, the Engine suffered a power turbine ("PT") blade failure after accumulating 5, 042 hours of use.

Plaintiff filed suit against Pratt & Whitney and Pro Turbine, Inc., on September 16, 2013, seeking damages for the alleged repair cost of the engine ($185, 641.30), other amounts related to aircraft rental ($73, 053.98), and pilot pay ($19, 550.00). On February 10, 2014, Pratt & Whitney filed the instant motion for summary judgment. On June 9, 2014, Plaintiff and Defendant Pro Turbine, Inc., filed a joint motion to dismiss their respective claims against each other, which the Court granted. Accordingly, only Plaintiff's claims against Pratt & ...


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