I just don't get it

Did anyone else see that the plaintiffs from the 1989 lawsuit against Cessna were awarded 480 million for a seat that allegedly slipped. To me, this is a crock of @##. I don’t know the whole story, but to award that kind of sum is just wrong! Anyone want to guess why airplanes and insurance is so expensive?


Agree 100%. See the current Liability thread on the Members Forum.

I don’t get it either. I just don’t understand the reason behind such large amounts of money being awarded. Of course I don’t know the specifics of the case, and I don’t know when the seat slipped, but from my very first flight in a Cessna (152) my primary instructor told me about the “Cessna Slide”. He stated that Cessna seats were notorious for slippin’ and a slidin’ and to always double check that the seat was actually locked in the proper position before I taxi. That is why most of us do that “little wiggle” in the seat just prior to taxi, and the general public thinks that we have a weggie were trying to get rid of. :wink: In all seriousness that is just an absurd amount of money to be awarded. I’m not saying however that manufactures don’t need to take responsibility for defects or workmanship concerns of their products.

If this is the same case I read about, the pilot modified the seat and that caused the seat to fail. His lawyers argued that Cessna never said he couldn’t modify the seat. I never understood this judgement since; I thought you couldn’t make any modifications to any part of an airplane, unless you get some sort of approval.

Walt N224AZ

Let’s not forget that the AD requiring the extra locking device on the seat rail was not even complied with!

After I heard 'bout the judgement, I removed mine!!!

The good news is that the case was appealed by Cessna and a settlement was made for an amount less than 20% of that original award. But this and other cases make Gordon’s argument quite appropriate.

I knew about the issue of sliding seats years before I ever flew a cessna. It’s common knowledge for all pilots. Not that it matters…when I began flying aircraft with adjustable seat positions, it was only natural to wiggle them to make sure they were properly locked in place. It’s infuriating to see such outrageous awards threaten the industries we depend on.

I don’t get it either. I was taught the same thing too. In fact I owed a 1983 Cessna 172 back from 1985-1990 and I remember getting the placards and warnings about the seat early on. I also used a small slip on rail lock just in case. Unfortunately you can only legislate against stupidity just so much. Survival of the fittest?

one other item that i forgot to mention that seems to be a common misperception in some of the concerned posts on this forum concerning liability litigation.

that item is that a jury award does not and from what I can tell often is not based on RATIONAL discovery process and rational deduction by jury or arbitration panel. The outcome has a greater chance to be decided by “deep pockets”, jury emotional irrationality, insurance company profit maximizing irregardless of case facts, etc.

The tort system is a necessary item in a civilized country; however the US legal system has twisted it beyond any reasonable/rational basis. Other western countries used to laugh at us but unfortunately U.S. style liability practices is spreading to their countries as well.

I fail to understand how most people can be shocked or even remotely surprised at the size of liability awards over the last twenty years. It is hardly just aviation liability that has gone through the roof, but business, medical, government, etc. I hear that anyone who lives in Nevada will be lucky to find any sort of competent physician in the near future because of massive liability premium increases(many larger than gross physician salaries)… In case you haven’t heard, St. Paul Cos. has discontinued medical malpractice policy writing(they lost $ 1.2 BILLION last year on medical mal) and now 40,000 docs are scrambling to find additonal coverage and moving out of states that are sky high(nevada being one, many others as well)

I personally am very reticent and probably won’t take any passengers other than family flying. I am close to retirement age and the last thing I want to do is have to work for another 20 years to rebuid assets following getting cleaned out by some lawyer and some ignorant jury.

Just look at who the lawyer was? He is no friend of GA and has made quite a living protecting us from the bad guys.

That’s the basis for one of my favorite quotes of all time:

“The lawyers will be the first ones against the wall when the revolution comes!”

—Douglas Adams “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”

Similar thoughts were expressed some centuries before Douglas Adams:
DICK: The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.
CADE: Nay, that I mean to do. Is not this a lamentable thing, that of the skin of an innocent lamb should be made parchment? that parchment, being scribbled o’er, should undo a man?
— William Shakespeare, II King Henry VI, Act IV, Scene 2