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U.S. judge rules for Bombardier, dismisses Comerica aircraft payments lawsuit

FILE PHOTO: Bombardier's logo is seen on the building of the company's service centre at Biggin Hill

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit in which Comerica Inc sought millions of dollars from Bombardier Inc after the Canadian aircraft maker could not find buyers for four planes whose leases had expired.

U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan, who had dismissed an earlier version of the lawsuit in July 2017, said Comerica was still unable to show that the planes had been returned to the lessor, which its contracts with Bombardier required before payment could be made.

The bank had sought $10.1 million (C$13.4 million) in its original January 2016 lawsuit. The amount sought was blacked out in the amended complaint. Lawyers for Comerica did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Comerica had said its Comerica Leasing Corp unit had been the beneficiary under trusts that bought the four CL-600 business jets from Bombardier, and then leased them to a predecessor of SkyWest Inc's ExpressJet unit.

The Dallas-based bank said Bombardier had guaranteed minimum residual values after the leases ran out in 2015, and promised to make up shortfalls if it found no buyers.

Gardephe, however, agreed with Bombardier that "pleading that ExpressJet made the aircraft available to Comerica Leasing at an airport in Georgia is not the same as pleading that ExpressJet returned the aircraft to Comerica."

Monday's dismissal was with prejudice, meaning Comerica cannot file an amended complaint.

The case is Comerica Leasing Corp v Bombardier Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-00614.


(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)