ROCKWELL INTERN. CORP. v. COSTRUZIONI AERONAUTICHE
553 F.Supp. 328 (1982)
ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL CORP.
COSTRUZIONI AERONAUTICHE GIOVANNI AGUSTA, S.p.A. and S.N.F.A.
Civ. A. No. 81-3984.
United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania.
December 22, 1982.
David L. Steck, Rawle & Henderson, Philadelphia, Pa., Joseph K. Powers, Bigham, Englar, Jones & Houston, New York City, for plaintiff.
James J. Donohue, and Mark L. Parisi, White & Williams, Philadelphia, Pa., Elliott M. Kroll, Kroll, Killarney, Pomerantz & Cameron, New York City, for defendant S.N.F.A.
Richard L. Goerwitz, Jr., Swartz, Campbell & Detweiler, Philadelphia, Pa., for Rudolph V. Pino, Speiser & Krause, P.C., New York City, for defendant Agusta.
GILES, District Judge.
This products liability suit arises from a helicopter crash over the Ohio River on January 16, 1981. The owner of the helicopter, Rockwell International Corporation ("Rockwell"), sues both the manufacturer, Costrozioni Aeronautiche Giovanni Agusta, S.p.A. ("Agusta") and the maker of an allegedly defective component part, SNFA. Both defendants are foreign corporations. Agusta has voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of this court, but SNFA moves to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. For the reasons outlined below, SNFA's motion to dismiss shall be denied.FACTS
SNFA, a French corporation with no apparent place of business in the United States, designs and manufactures ball bearing assemblies. These assemblies, along with accessories and replacement parts are sold by SNFA to its Italian subsidiary, Somecat, S.p.A. Somecat is SNFA's exclusive distributor in Italy, who, in turn, sells the ball bearings and replacement parts to Agusta which is also an Italian corporation.1 Agusta incorporates custom made SNFA bearings into its A-109 helicopter. Agusta then sells the helicopters to its United States distributor, Atlantic Aviation Corporation in Wilmington, Delaware. The chain of distribution is completed when Atlantic sells to the ultimate consumer. Replacement
parts for the ball bearing assemblies go through the same chain of distribution.2
Rockwell, a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Pennsylvania,3 purchased an A-109 helicopter from ... Atlantic in October of 1977. Almost a year later, Rockwell bought seven replacement tail rotor drive shaft bearings from Atlantic. These bearings were designed, tested and manufactured by SNFA and had gone through the chain of distribution previously outlined. They were installed in the helicopter on April 2, 1979. On January 16, 1981, the bearings and the rotor drive shaft failed while the helicopter was flying over the Ohio River. The pilot was unable to maintain directional control and the helicopter crashed. Rockwell sues defendants under theories of negligence and the breach of express and implied warranties.
The ball bearings manufactured by SNFA are custom designed for the Agusta A-109 helicopter. They cannot be used in any other helicopter model. Agusta buys all bearings for the A-109 from SNFA. During the design and testing of the ball bearings, SNFA worked closely with Agusta engineers and was aware that the A-109 helicopter was targeted for the executive corporate transport market in the United States and Europe. SNFA has advertised its bearings in the World Aviation Directory, a publication widely circulated throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. In addition, it has an exclusive agreement with Air Supply Company, a division of Garrett Corporation, located in California. This agreement allows Air Supply to promote and sell SNFA's precision bearings throughout the continental United States. SNFA has also sold turbine engine bearings directly to General Electric Corporation and Garrett Corporation. The engines into which these bearings are incorporated are marketed throughout the United States.