“Sellers Exception” Dismissal In Airplane Crash Product Liability Case Not Final And Appealable

Illinois law allows the seller of a product to get out of a product liability lawsuit after identifying the manufacturer of the product. But even if the dismissal is with prejudice, the dismissal order is not final and immediately appealable. The First District Illinois Appellate Court recently said it did not have jurisdiction to consider the injured parties’ appeal from a dismissal of a seller of an aircraft that had identified the manufacturer.

Section 2-621 directs the dismissal of the seller, unless the seller had knowledge of the product defect or participated in the design of the product. But it also allows for the seller to be brought back into the case if an action against the manufacturer would be, as the court stated, “impossible or unavailing.”

Because the seller was subject to being reinstated, the dismissal order did not dispose of the rights of the parties. The order therefore was not final, and not appealable at that time. “Until plaintiff files and the [trial] court rules on a motion for vacation of the order dismissing plaintiff’s strict liability claims against Air 1st [product seller] and reinstatement of those claims pursuant to section 2-621, we have no jurisdiction to consider the court’s dismissal of those claims.”

Read the whole case, South Side Trust and Savings Bank of Peoria v. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, No. 1-09-0148 (3/31/10), by clicking here.