The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a U.S. aircraft manufacturer’s assertion of the General Aviation Revitalization Act’s (“GARA”) statute of repose in a U.S. court case arising from a crash that occurred outside the U.S. In Blazevska v. Raytheon Aircraft Co., the Plaintiff and other survivors of a plane crash that occurred in Macedonia brought suit in U.S. District Court against Raytheon Aircraft Company, the manufacturer of the Beechcraft Super King Air 200 involved in the accident. The Plaintiff asserted three causes of action under Macedonian law that alleged that the aircraft was defective. In response, Raytheon argued that the claims were barred by GARA’s eighteen year statute of repose. The District Court agreed and granted summary judgment to Raytheon on the basis of the statute of repose, and Blazevska appealed.
On appeal, the Court observed that GARA precludes claims against aircraft manufacturers eighteen years after an aircraft has been delivered. However, the issue before the Court was whether the application of GARA implicated any issue of extraterritoriality that would limit a defendant’s ability to assert the GARA statute of repose. The Court determined that since the aircraft was delivered in the U.S. and the case was filed in the U.S. court, the application of GARA did not result in an improper regulation of conduct abroad. The Court went on to note that GARA only terminates the ability of a claimant to bring an action in U.S. courts, which is an entirely domestic act. As a result, the Plaintiff’s claims in the U.S. court were barred by GARA.