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Seegar v. Anticola

United States District Court, D. Delaware

March 12, 2015

PAUL SEEGAR AND JENNIFER SEEGAR, Plaintiffs,
v.
THOMAS P. ANTICOLA, PETER LANE, EKL LEASING CORP. and/or EKL LEASING, INC., and AERO WAYS, INC. Defendants.

MEMORANDUM ORDER

LEONARD P. STARK, District Judge.

These two related cases arise out of an airplane accident that occurred in Pennsylvania in 2011. Pending before the Court are two motions in each of the two cases: a motion to dismiss by certain defendants who contend the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over them as well as a defense motion to strike a report of the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") that Plaintiffs attached to their brief opposing the motion to dismiss. In addition to Plaintiffs, one defendant/cross-claimant also opposes the motion to dismiss.

BACKGROUND

The Parties

Plaintiff Paul Seegar was injured in an airplane accident that occurred on November 17, 2011 in Ulysses, Pennsylvania. (C.A. No. 13-2030 D.I. 9 at 1-2)[1] At the time of the accident, Mr. Seegar was employed by Applied Fabrics Tech, Inc. ("AFTI"), a New York corporation, and he was traveling on the airplane to conduct business for AFTI in Delaware. (D.I. 9 Ex. 3 at ¶2) Plaintiff Jennifer Seegar is Paul Seegar's spouse. (D.I. 8 Ex. B at ¶10) Plaintiffs are citizens of New York. (D.I. 8 Ex. A)

It was at the direction of Defendant Peter Lane that Plaintiff Paul Seegar engaged in the business travel during which the accident occurred. (D.I. 9 Ex. 3 at 72-5) Mr. Lane, a New York resident, is president of AFTI; Mr. Lane is also CEO of Defendant EKL Leasing Corp., [2] which is alleged to be the owner/operator of the airplane involved in the accident. ( See D.I. 8 Ex. E; D.I. 9 Exs. 1, 2, 3, 4) EKL Leasing Corp., a New York corporation, is the FAA-registered owner of the airplane. (D.I. 8 Ex. C)

Defendant Thomas P. Anticola, also a New York resident, piloted the airplane. (D.I. 8 Ex. F; D.I.9 Ex. 4 at 3)

For ease of reference, in the remainder of this Memorandum Order the Court will refer collectively to Lane, EKL Leasing Corp., and Anticola as the "New York Defendants."

Aero Ways, Inc., a Delaware corporation (hereinafter, the "Delaware Defendant"), is a commercial fueler and fixed-based operator which does business at New Castle County Airport in Delaware. (D.I. 10 at 2)

The Complaint

Plaintiffs originally filed suit in the Superior Court in and for New Castle County, Delaware on November 13, 2013. According to the Complaint, on November 17, 2011 Plaintiff Paul Seegar was a passenger on a twin-engine Hawker Beechcraft model 95-055 aircraft, registration number N54552, piloted by Defendant Anticola, as the agent of Defendants EKL Leasing Corp. and Peter Lane. (D.I. 8 Ex.2 at ¶¶ 1, 3)

The Complaint alleges that the New York Defendants acted negligently, by, among other things, operating the airplane when they knew or should have known that a fuel quantity gauge was faulty; performing an incomplete pre-flight inspection; operating the airplane without sufficient fuel to reach its intended destination; and improperly configuring the fuel system during remedial actions during the airplane's descent. (D.I. 8 Ex.2 at ¶2) The Complaint further alleges that the Delaware Defendant improperly refueled and inadequately inspected the airplane prior to its departure from New Castle County, Delaware. (D.I. 8 Ex.2 at ¶7; see also D.I. 9 at 2 ("The plane was inadequately refueled and, as a result, the plan crashed in Ulysses, Pennsylvania because of fuel starvation and the pilot's incomplete pre-flight inspection and operation of the plane with a known faulty fuel quantity indicating system...."))

According to the Complaint, as a result of all Defendants' negligent conduct, the airplane crashed in Ulysses, Pennsylvania while en route from New Castle County, Delaware to Buffalo, New York. (D.I. 8 Ex. 2 at ¶¶1-9) Plaintiff Paul Seegar suffered extensive personal injuries, mental distress, and financial damages. (D.I. 8 Ex.2 ...


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