Victoria Berridge, Robert Cook, Robert Walsh, and the pilot, Scott Cowan, boarded a Twin Otter airplane for a skydiving expedition. Shortly after takeoff, the right engine failed, and the airplane crashed. All four persons aboard the airplane died because of the crash. Plaintiffs, the decedents’ parents, filed a strict liability lawsuit for wrongful death against Doncasters, Inc., a company that manufactured the blades used in the turbine engines of the airplane. Plaintiffs introduced evidence at trial that showed that the blades manufactured by Doncasters were defective because the aluminide coating and base metal alloy used in the blades made the blades unsafe for use in the airplanes engine. Plaintiffs’ expert witnesses testified that the coating used by Doncasters was prone to cracking and that the base metal alloy had low oxidation resistance, both which made Doncastors’ blades defective. Other evidence showed that the blades had never passed a required 150 hour endurance test before they were installed. The parents sought compensatory damages for each of the deceased parties as well as punitive damages against Doncastors. Is Doncasters, Inc., strictly liable for the death of the deceased parties of the airplane crash because of a defect in design of the blades used in the engine of the crashed airplane? Is Doncasters liable for punitive damages? Delacroix v. Doncasters, Inc., 407 S. W. 3d 13, 2013 Mo. App. Lexis 567 ( Missouri Court of Appeals, 2013)
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