Banking giant Comerica Inc. has been attempting to recover approximately $10.1 million from the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Inc. This is the second attempt at litigation.
In January 2016, Comerica filed a lawsuit against Bombardier. In July 2017, a U.S. district court judge dismissed Comerica’s lawsuit because the bank had been unable to show that four planes with expired leases had been returned to the lessor. Comerica’s contracts with Bombardier required that the planes be returned to the lessor before Bombardier would have to make payment.
Comerica Inc’s subsidiary, Comerica Leasing Corp., was apparently the beneficiary of several trusts that purchased the four aircraft – CL-600 business jets – from Bombardier and leased them to ExpressJet, a SkyWest Inc. company.
Comerica claimed that Bombardier had guaranteed certain residual minimums after those leases expired in 2015. It also claimed that Bombardier promised to make up the shortfall if the trusts couldn’t find buyers.
As far as the aircraft being returned, Comerica alleged that ExpressJet made the planes available to Comerica Leasing Group at a Georgia airport.
That lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, which means that Comerica was allowed to refile an amended version. ($10.1 million was the figure sought in the first version of the suit. In the amended version, the amount sought was blacked out, says Reuters.)
Now, the same federal judge has ruled that Comerica has still provided no proof that the aircraft were returned to the lessor. He agreed that making the aircraft available was not the same as returning them. Without proof that the planes were returned, Bombardier has no contractual obligation to pay.
Therefore, the amended lawsuit has been dismissed, as well. This time, it was dismissed with prejudice, which means the dispute is now resolved in Bombardier’s favor.