Boyle v. United Technologies Corporation

487 U.S. 500 (1988)


Boyle (P), a United States Marine helicopter copilot, was killed when the CH-53D helicopter in which he was flying crashed during a training exercise. P was unable to escape from the helicopter and drowned. P's father brought this diversity action in Federal District Court against United Technologies Corporation (D), which built the helicopter for the United States. P relied on proof under Virginia law of a defective part and a defective design of the escape system that opened out instead of in which made escape underwater extremely difficult. The jury returned a general verdict for P for $725,000. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded with directions that judgment be entered for D. D could not be held liable for the allegedly defective design of the escape hatch because, on the evidence presented, it satisfied the requirements of the 'military contractor defense.'