Flanders v. Hill Aircraft & Leasing Corp.

Decision Date16 January 1976
Docket NumberNo. 1,No. 51382,51382,1
Citation137 Ga.App. 286,223 S.E.2d 482
PartiesF. M. FLANDERS v. HILL AIRCRAFT AND LEASING CORPORATION
CourtGeorgia Court of Appeals

Guy B. Scott, Jr., Athens, E. Lynn Mitchell, Decatur, for appellant.

Coggin, Haddon, Stuckey & Thompson, T. Jerry Jackson, Atlanta, for appellee.

MARSHALL, Judge.

This appeal is taken from the denial of Flanders' (plaintiff below) motion for a new trial. Flanders brought action against defendant Hill Aircraft and Leasing Corporation for breach of warranty as to airworthiness, merchantability and fitness of a twin engine aircraft sold by Hill Aircraft to Flanders. Flanders sought damages caused by expenses incurred in repairs and maintenance of the aircraft, installment payments made pursuant to contract, attorney fees, and punitive damages for fraudulent and deceitful representations. Hill Aircraft failed to file a timely answer. The trial court refused to open the resultant default. Jury trial was held to assess damages, and upon trial a verdict was returned in favor of defendant Hill Aircraft. Following entry of judgment, Flanders unsuccessfully petitioned for a new trial.

Flanders enumerates some 15 alleged errors. The first three are on the general grounds and the remainder generally deal with rulings and acts by the trial court in admitting evidence over objection or dealing with the court's charge to the jury. In essence, these latter enumerations complain that the trial court allowed the defendant to relitigate the issue of liability, to argue questions of liability to the jury and required the jury, in effect, in its deliberations to determine that Hill Aircraft was liable for the damages suffered by Flanders. Our discussion of the alleged reopening of the question of liability disposes of all enumerations, except one, pertaining to the failure to award nominal damages to Flanders. Held:

In pertinent part, Flanders' petition generally alleged that he purchased the described aircraft from Hill Aircraft. At the time of the sale, Hill, president of Hill Aircraft, or one of its agents, made representations as to the airworthiness of the aircraft, the number of hours on the engines, and prior use of the aircraft. In fact the aircraft was not airworthy and had been operated far in excess of the representation of Hill Aircraft as to air-time hours. Flanders, in good faith and relying upon the representations of merchantability and fitness for the use contemplated, purchased the aircraft. The airplane was highly defective and in an unsafe condition, causing Flanders great expense in the maintenance and repair of the aircraft due to its defective condition and more specifically, the aircraft exploded a cylinder on one of its engines, and incurred many other miscellaneous expenses due to defects. After Flanders made known the defects, Hill Aircraft eventually refused further adjustments, to Flanders' disadvantage. Flanders demanded special damages for his ascertainable expenses, exemplary damages for Hill Aircraft's fraudulent and deceitful representations, as well as attorney fees.

Hill Aircraft is a defendant in default. It is in the position of having admitted each and every material allegation of the plaintiff's petition except as to the amount of damages alleged. In that state of the record, Hill Aircraft is concluded as to its liability. Southern Bell Tel. & Tel. Co. v. Earle, 118 Ga. 506(4), 510, 45 S.E. 319; Gary v. Central of Georgia Ry. Co., 44 Ga.App. 120(4), 126, 160 S.E. 716. Since the defendant was estopped from contesting the merits of the case, the only issue Hill Aircraft could defend against was the amount of damages, that is whether the evidence of the cost of damages adduced by Flanders was accurate or not. Cooper v. Brock, 77 Ga.App. 152, 48 S.E.2d 156.

The trial court, for the limited purpose of allowing defendant to attempt to show a lack of fraud, permitted defendant to introduce evidence that the aircraft had a certificate of airworthiness, that the aircraft had logs showing the maintenance schedule and flying hours, and that no representations had been made to Flanders concerning the condition of the...

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25 cases
  • Zhong v. PNC Bank, N.A.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • March 13, 2018
    ...plaintiff’s complaint is admitted due to the default of defendant and requires no further proof."); Flanders v. Hill Aircraft & Leasing Corp. , 137 Ga. App. 286, 289, 223 S.E.2d 482 (1976) (by defaulting, defendant admitted proximate causation of alleged injuries).(c) Damages.Wells Fargo ar......
  • Ward v. Marriott Int'l, Inc.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • October 24, 2019
    ...liability is concluded, and the only issue a defendant can defend against is the amount of damages. Flanders v. Hill Aircraft & Leasing Corp. , 137 Ga. App. 286, 287, 223 S.E.2d 482 (1976) (reversing trial court, which allowed a defaulting defendant to present evidence regarding the right o......
  • Hill Aircraft & Leasing Corp. v. Tyler
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • January 6, 1982
    ...attorney, Tyler. However, that lawsuit proceeded to trial resulting in a verdict for the defendant. But in Flanders v. Hill Aircraft etc. Corp., 137 Ga.App. 286, 223 S.E.2d 482, it was reversed. Tyler, at some point in time during the pendency of the refiled suit, did represent Hill Aircraf......
  • Bauer v. North Fulton Medical Center
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • December 16, 1999
    ...Ga. 634, 636-637, 106 S.E.2d 781 (1959); Williams v. Harris, 207 Ga. 576, 579(2), 63 S.E.2d 386 (1951); Flanders v. Hill Aircraft &c. Corp., 137 Ga.App. 286, 289, 223 S.E.2d 482 (1976). When special damages have failed of specific proof, nominal damages can be recovered. Miller &c. Assoc. v......
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2 books & journal articles
  • Torts - Cynthia Trimboli Adams and Charles R. Adams Iii
    • United States
    • Mercer University School of Law Mercer Law Reviews No. 48-1, September 1996
    • Invalid date
    ...is admitted due to the default."); Whitby v. Maloy, 150 Ga. App. 575, 258 S.E.2d 181 (1979); Flanders v. Hill Aircraft & Leasing Corp., 137 Ga. App. 286, 223 S.E.2d 482 (1976). 319. Magnan v. Miami Aircraft Support, Inc., 217 Ga. App. 855, 459 S.E.2d 592 (1995); Daniel v. Causey, 220 Ga. Ap......
  • Trial Practice and Procedure - C. Frederick Overby and Teresa T. Abell
    • United States
    • Mercer University School of Law Mercer Law Reviews No. 48-1, September 1996
    • Invalid date
    ...is admitted due to the default."); Whitby v. Maloy, 150 Ga. App. 575, 258 S.E.2d 181 (1979); Flanders v. Hill Aircraft & Leasing Corp., 137 Ga. App. 286, 223 S.E.2d 482 (1976). 319. Magnan v. Miami Aircraft Support, Inc., 217 Ga. App. 855, 459 S.E.2d 592 (1995); Daniel v. Causey, 220 Ga. Ap......

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