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In the hours following the crash of a Swissair MD-11 off the coast of Nova Scotia, Frost Brown Todd Member Martin Rose and a team of attorneys was retained to represent Santa Barbara Aerospace (SBA). The Swissair plane had caught fire mid-flight and crashed into Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, killing all aboard. Within days, the crash investigation focused on the in-flight entertainment system as the possible source of the fire. The air carrier and manufacturer both pointed the finger at SBA, a small aviation electronics shop, which then became the target of litigation in Europe and multi-district litigation in Philadelphia.

The federal judge managing the litigation refused to allow formal discovery and demanded that the defendants capitulate. Ignoring the pressure from the judge and twin corporate behemoths Boeing/McDonnell Douglass and Swissair, we led our own extensive investigation and testing. These efforts attacked the $600 million case against SBA on two fronts: whether SBA had anything to do with the wiring problems; and whether the in-flight entertainment system was the source of the fire that led to the crash.

While the specific terms of the case resolution are confidential, it was an overwhelming victory for the client.