[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Thornton Davis & Fein and J. Thompson Thornton, Miami, and Beverly D. Eisenstadt; John P. O'Flanagan and L. Robert Bourgeois, Tampa and Banker Lopez Gassler; Cozen O'Connor and Richard M. Dunn and Raquel M. Fernandez and Anaysa Gallardo, Miami, for appellants.
Podhurst Orseck and Stephen F. Rosenthal, Miami, for appellees.
Before RAMIREZ, LAGOA, and EMAS, JJ.
In this consolidated action, Rolls Royce, Inc., Simmonds Engine Precision Products, Inc., Goodrich Pump & Engine Control Systems, Inc., and Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. appeal the trial court's non-final order denying their motion to dismiss based upon forum non conveniens. For the reasons which follow, we reverse.
These claims arose when a helicopter, owned by the Mexican government and piloted by Oscar Garardo Posadas Garcia
(" Garcia" ) crashed on April 11, 2006, in Morelia, Mexico, injuring Garcia and his two passengers, Jesus Alberto Juarez Carbajal and Jorge Antonio Carbajal Mora. All of the plaintiffs are Mexican citizens.
The subject helicopter, a Bell Model 407, was designed and manufactured by Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. (" Bell" ). Rolls Royce, Inc. (" Rolls-Royce" ), manufactured the helicopter's engine, and various sub-component parts of the engine were manufactured by Goodrich Pump & Engine Control Systems (" Goodrich" ) and Simmonds Engine Precision Products, Inc. (" Simmonds" ). The helicopter was owned and operated by the State of Michoacan, Republic of Mexico, and was used for emergency medical services.
Plaintiffs, all of whom are represented by the same law firm, filed their complaints in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, and each alleged the crash was caused when the subject helicopter's engine and its FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) system and associated components and wiring harness failed due to the negligent design, manufacture, sale and negligent inspection, testing, maintenance, modification and/or repair by the defendants. The complaints also included counts for strict liability against each defendant.
Rolls-Royce filed a motion to dismiss for forum non conveniens, asserting the case should be reinstated in Mexico, the site of the crash and the home of the plaintiffs. The other defendants (Bell, Goodrich and Simmonds) joined in Rolls-Royce's motion to dismiss.
None of the defendants is incorporated in Florida, nor does any defendant maintain a principal place of business in Florida. The helicopter and all of its engine components were designed, manufactured and assembled in either Canada or in the states where the defendants operate their businesses. At no time was the helicopter (or any of its component parts) in the state of Florida. After the sale of the helicopter, maintenance and repair were performed in the State of Michoacan (Mexico). Rolls-Royce asserted that, because the litigation has no connection to Florida, and no witnesses or documents are located here, Mexico is a " far more convenient forum for this litigation", and dismissal is mandated under Kinney System, Inc. v. Continental Insurance Co.,674 So.2d ...