A fixed base operator (FBO) was hired to service and inspect the plaintiff’s new single engine aircraft. An annual inspection was performed along maintenance being performed on the fuel tanks. The plaintiff was seriously injured in a forced landing when the plane suffered fuel starvation after only a few hours of operation since the FBO had completed the work. NTSB concluded that the fuel line had come loose during flight. The insurer for the defendant adamantly denied that any work had been done near the fitting and that the fitting had been properly inspected and tightened, alleging it must have come loose from the impact of the crash. Discovery depositions and expert testimony proved the contrary. Not only had the fitting been improperly inspected, the maintenance employee had removed the fitting when testing for fuel capacitance. Despite this, the carrier resisted settlement, offering less than the medical expenses at mediation. Shortly before trial, the insurance carrier capitulated, paid the policy limits and the case was settled.
Terms of settlement confidential U.S. District Court for E.D. Wisconsin