Firm News

Austin Attorneys Obtain Fifth Circuit Victory in Products Liability/Wrongful Death Suit

April 27, 2020

Austin partners,  Mike Eady and John Chambless, and associate, Elizabeth Brabb, obtained a Fifth Circuit victory in a product liability/wrongful death action arising out of an auto accident in Plano, TX. They represented Magna Seating (Germany) GmbH, a component part manufacturer/assembler.

Mr. Chambless convinced the district court that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Magna under the stream of commerce test, despite Magna’s general awareness that it was supplying seats for 130,000 vehicles to be sold in the USA. Mr. Eady and Ms. Brabb did the briefing on appeal and Mr. Eady argued the case in the Fifth Circuit.  In affirming the dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction, the Fifth Circuit concluded that Magna’s general awareness that the vehicles would be sold in the U.S. did not establish Magna placed the seats into the stream of commerce with the expectation they would end up in vehicles sold in Texas.  The court also rejected plaintiff’s argument that the size of Texas and the number of vehicles sold here, in comparison to other states, should have led Magna to expect that the vehicles and its seats would be sold here.

This was a significant win for Thompson Coe's Appellate and Products Liability sections.