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Family of Paulding man killed in N.C. plane crash files lawsuit


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#1 MillCreek

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:08 PM

From the AJ-C Website (3-13-08)

Family of Paulding man killed in N.C. plane crash files lawsuit

The family of Frank Ruggiero filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking damages for the Feb. 1 plane crash that claimed the lives of Ruggiero and five other prominent Paulding County men and devastated the community.

"We believe the pilot was negligent in maintaining operational control of the plane, causing it to crash," said Gary C. Robb, an aviation attorney in Kansas City, Mo., who represents the Ruggiero family.

"The most important thing is that we feel that this was a horrible tragedy," Robb said. "All of the families involved —not just the Ruggiero family— are devastated."

The suit, filed in Polk County Superior Court, seeks unspecified compensatory damages for the crash, which happened in Mount Airy, N.C.

Frank Ruggiero, 52, of Acworth was executive project manager at the Facility Group, a large Smyrna-based design and construction firm. A native of Niagara Falls, N.Y., Ruggiero was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting and boating. He is survived by his wife, Louise, and their three children: Angelo, 25, Tony, 23, and Adrianna, 15.

The other five men killed in the crash were: Robert Butler, 49; Hal Echols, 57; Tony Gunter, 46; John Wesley Rakestraw, 50; and Steve Simpson, 46.

LINK to Story


#2 Ernnnnnnnn

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:12 PM

sad.gif Why are they making this more painful than it already is?

#3 Gee~Tee

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:14 PM

HOW SAD sad.gif

#4 av8tir

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:14 PM

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I'm sure there will be more to follow.....
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#5 Riograce

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:18 PM

huh.gif

I thought that weather conditions were blamed.

And wasn't the pilot killed as well? I thought there were no survivors.



#6 NoReason

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:19 PM

All about money. It will not bring the man back. The wife should be ashamed of herself. The kids are old enough to support themselves. She could get out and get a job.

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#7 mayflower

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:20 PM

Very Sad .....Just one more thing the family will have to deal with....

#8 NoReason

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:20 PM

QUOTE (Riograce @ Mar 13 2008, 05:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
huh.gif

I thought that weather conditions were blamed.

And wasn't the pilot killed as well? I thought there were no survivors.



Yes, he was killed also. There were no survivors
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Somebody else will.

#9 Ernnnnnnnn

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:28 PM

QUOTE (Riograce @ Mar 13 2008, 06:18 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
huh.gif

I thought that weather conditions were blamed.

And wasn't the pilot killed as well? I thought there were no survivors.


Yup
QUOTE (NoReason @ Mar 13 2008, 06:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
All about money. It will not bring the man back. The wife should be ashamed of herself. The kids are old enough to support themselves. She could get out and get a job.

Blast away biggrin.gif

I TOTALLY agree!

#10 Fred-O

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:28 PM

I didn't think the FAA or NTSB was able to determine who was even flying the airplane at the time of the crash. There were two certified pilots on board in the two front seats. Either could have been flying the airplane. How are they supposed to prove negligence when thay don't even know who was at the controls? It was an accident in bad weather! And all of these guys were friends going on a hunting trip. I'd be pissed at my wife if she sued one of my friends in a situation like this.

#11 TheLeCroyGang

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:29 PM

I thought one of the other local guys was piloting...? For some reason I'm thinking it was Rakestraw, I could be very wrong though..but didn't he own the company?
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#12 Gray_Wolf

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:31 PM

This is sad. I am sure that Mr. Ragsdale did everything in his power to attempt a safe landing. Even the articule states it will be at least a year before a finding of the cause is available. I feel for all involved.

Interesting is that the attorney is from Kansas City, Mo.

In my opinion I hope the attorney does not rear end the ambulance.

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Edited by Gray_Wolf, 13 March 2008 - 05:34 PM.

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#13 XTW

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:32 PM

This entire thing is just so tragic. Even if the pilot made an error, which he didn't do intentionally since we all know it cost him his life also, he died. Who is going to get sued over this? His family, who was at home here in Paulding, and did nothing wrong? It is just so sad. The world has turned so sue happy.

I just hate this for all of the families.

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#14 Ernnnnnnnn

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:33 PM

QUOTE (Fred-O @ Mar 13 2008, 06:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I didn't think the FAA or NTSB was able to determine who was even flying the airplane at the time of the crash. There were two certified pilots on board in the two front seats. Either could have been flying the airplane. How are they supposed to prove negligence when thay don't even know who was at the controls? It was an accident in bad weather! And all of these guys were friends going on a hunting trip. I'd be pissed at my wife if she sued one of my friends in a situation like this.

Yep. He was a grown adult and wasn't forced on the plane by gun point. mad.gif

#15 Lady Raider

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:34 PM

wow.... **Unbeliveable***
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#16 XTW

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:35 PM

QUOTE (Fred-O @ Mar 13 2008, 06:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I didn't think the FAA or NTSB was able to determine who was even flying the airplane at the time of the crash. There were two certified pilots on board in the two front seats. Either could have been flying the airplane. How are they supposed to prove negligence when thay don't even know who was at the controls? It was an accident in bad weather! And all of these guys were friends going on a hunting trip. I'd be pissed at my wife if she sued one of my friends in a situation like this.

I am with you on that. He is probably turning over in his grave.

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#17 Ernnnnnnnn

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:36 PM

All this family sees is $$$$$. All I'm seeing is red!

Lets make these people pay for losing their husband and dad too! Unbelievable!

#18 Lady Raider

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:38 PM

what is it they say

Money is the root of all evil...

still shaking head....
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#19 dance/soccer/CKD mom

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 05:59 PM

How sad.....
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#20 MillCreek

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 06:18 PM

I don't actually know the families that were affected by this sad situation, nor do I agree with a lawsuit being filed...

However, not to defend them, if you've ever lost a parent or a spouse, emotions are definitely running amok, and people sometimes make decisions based on emotion.

The men in this tragedy, 4 were in their 40's, 2 in their 50's.....led active lifestyles; not exactly over the hill / ready for a sedatory lifestyle.....they left behind kids ranging in ages from the teens, up into their 20's.....wives, that were perhaps, for the most part, in their 40's.....

Not to justify anyone's actions, but, I lost my father (open heart surgery) while I was 23, my brother was 21, and our mother was 45....Dad was "just 49."

Different set of circumstances, but, nevertheless, the emotions "were definitely on the run." For example, my mother was "ready to sell" the house, at that time, simply based on emotion -- thankfully, she didn't till several years later...and her emotions were much more "in check."

With all due respect, the families are, most likely, still in serious grief -- which is understandable....I would imagine that filing suit right now, is probably based on a lot of emotion....







#21 AnonyMoose

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 07:29 PM

QUOTE (Urn @ Mar 13 2008, 06:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
sad.gif Why are they making this more painful than it already is?


Pilot error took the lives of five working men. This deprives the spouses and children of the next "X" years of income from each of these men. Damn straight the estate of the pilot and the insurance of the pilot's employer needs to pony up to the bar and make it right.
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#22 JimmyZ

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 07:34 PM

I disagree because has the official report from the FAA and NTSB comeback. Until then there should be no lawsuits filed.
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#23 UnionMom

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 07:35 PM

I think you'll find the suit was filed against the insurance company, not the family. It wasn't clear from the article.




#24 A Former Geek

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 07:38 PM

Below is the preliminary NTSB report from the NTSB website.

NTSB Identification: NYC08MA090
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, February 01, 2008 in Mount Airy, NC
Aircraft: Raytheon Aircraft Corporation C90A, registration: N57WR
Injuries: 6 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.
On February 1, 2008, about 1128 eastern standard time, a Raytheon Aircraft Company C90A, N57WR, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while executing the missed approach for the Global Positioning System (GPS) approach to runway 36 at Mount Airy/Surry County Airport (MWK), Mount Airy, North Carolina. The certificated commercial pilot and the five passengers were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight, which departed Polk County Airport/Cornelius Moore Field (4A4), Cedartown, Georgia. The personal flight was conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to witness statements, rain, low cloud ceilings, and fog were present in the local area. The pilot was first heard to check in on MWK's common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), and announce "final 36, Mount Airy." The airplane was then observed to "break out of the clouds" at approximately 500 feet above ground level, in close proximity to the airport, and then descend "rapidly" for about 200 feet. It was then observed to "side step" to the left of the runway, and fly parallel to it for its entire length. The airplane then made a "hard" left turn at the end of the runway and climbed into the "fog." A few minutes later, it came out of the bottom of the clouds in a nose down attitude, disappeared behind trees east of the airport, and the sound of impact was heard.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) preliminary air traffic control voice, and radar plot data, the airplane departed 4A4 at approximately 1024 and arrived in the vicinity of MWK approximately 50 minutes later.

After arrival in the local area, the pilot contacted Greensboro Approach and advised the controller that he was level at 4,000 feet above mean sea level (msl) on a northeast-bound track toward MWK. The controller then instructed the pilot to maintain 4,000 feet msl until crossing the EDLIF waypoint, fly the GPS approach to runway 36 at MWK, and switch to the CTAF for the airport.

Radar data obtained from the terminal radar approach control facility at Greensboro, North Carolina, contained recorded radar targets for the accident airplane from 1112 until 1128. During the GPS approach to runway 36, the airplane was recorded tracking inbound to the airport. The last radar target on final was recorded at 1125:40, at 2,000 feet msl, approximately 1.25 nautical miles from the runway 36 threshold. No more radar targets were recorded until 1127:49, when the target representing the airplane reappeared on radar on a left base leg at 2,300 feet msl. It then continued to turn left to about a 020-degree heading, overfly the threshold of runway 36 at 2,300 feet, and continue on a 020-degree heading for another 14 seconds. The last target was recorded to the east of the airport 0.6 nautical miles south of the accident site, at 2,700 feet msl.

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight. The wreckage was located at 36 degrees, 27.797 minutes north latitude, 80 degrees, 33.042 minutes west longitude, at an elevation of 1,219 feet msl.

The airplane came to rest in a residential area, upright on a magnetic heading of 200 degrees. Its angle of impact was approximately 45 degrees nose down. The fuel system was compromised in multiple locations and the ground around the wreckage was fuel soaked. No debris path existed, and the initial impact point was collocated with the remains of the airplane. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site.

Examination of the wreckage on scene revealed no evidence of any preimpact malfunctions, structural failures, or in-flight fire. Evidence did indicate that the landing gear was in the extended position prior to impact, and the flaps were in the approach position. Both propellers displayed S-bending, and no anomalies were identified with either engine. The rudder trim tab actuator correlated to 1 to 2 degrees of right rudder trim. The elevator trim actuators were measured and found to be in a position which correlated to 6 to 7 degrees nose up trim, and the electric pitch trim was off.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land, airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane. He reported 780 total hours of flight experience on his most recent application for an FAA second-class medical certificate, dated August 6, 2007.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 2005. According to maintenance records, the airplane's most recent manufacturer's recommended inspection program, phase inspection, was completed on November 9, 2007. At that time the airplane had accrued 799.7 total hours of operation.

A weather observation taken about 13 minutes after the accident, included; calm winds, visibility 2 and 1/2 miles in heavy drizzle, a broken cloud layer at 300 feet, an overcast cloud layer at 600 feet, temperature 1 degree Celsius ©, dew point 0 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.90 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was retained by the National Transportation Safety Board for further examination.



#25 rockysmom

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 07:44 PM

QUOTE (AnonyMoose @ Mar 13 2008, 07:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Pilot error took the lives of five working men. This deprives the spouses and children of the next "X" years of income from each of these men. Damn straight the estate of the pilot and the insurance of the pilot's employer needs to pony up to the bar and make it right.



O my gosh, I have to agree with Moose on this. Damn straight a lawsuit would be filed by ANYONE in these circumstances, that is what would happen in the real world.
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#26 JimmyZ

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 07:49 PM

Though the preliminary report is out and most likely will become the final report their should not be any civil actions taken. I am sure each family had life insurance of their own.
“Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.”
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#27 KLSX

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 07:54 PM


Moose got the formula right.

That's how it works back in the world.

The lawyer from KC has a proven track record with some substantial awards from plane crashes. I'd use him too for this case.

The other suits will soon be filed.

The family won't have to pay this, insurance will and other low time pilots will pay in the form of higher premiums to the insurance companies.

The suit is about loss of income, companionship for the surviving families and personal suffering by the victims during the crash sequence.

#28 av8tir

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 08:53 PM

Regardless of the circumstances , pilot error is ALWAYS factored in. The pilot is IN COMMAND and makes the decisions, right or wrong. Pilot error is blamed for the majority of accidents. Although sad, there is a reason why we purchase insurance and pay premiums .
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#29 Union Girl

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 08:53 PM

I think this was a hunting trip, free of charge for those on board. We risk our lives every day by making a decision to do whatever it is we decide to do that day. These men made a decision to take a trip and an accident happened. I don't understand why anyone should get to sue another person because an accident happened. Each man made a decision to fly that day with friends for what was to be a fun weekend but ended in tragedy.

What I find sickening is the fact the day after the accident, their was a link to an attorney's office stating: "If you had a loved one in this plane crash please contact ....... (Who is really going to get money)?
Life's journey is not about arriving at the grave safely, in a well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting '..Holy sheeze! What a ride!'" -- unknown

#30 tbird

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 09:08 PM

QUOTE (JimmyZ @ Mar 13 2008, 07:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Though the preliminary report is out and most likely will become the final report their should not be any civil actions taken. I am sure each family had life insurance of their own.



I would think that people in their positions would have life insurance.
I am sure that these families have recieved advertisements from every wrongful death attorney licensed in that state. I have heard of cases where attorneys call people after accidents. Even though I work for an attorney's office---I certainly do not believe in the "ambulance chaser" type of attorney.
I only hope that the insurance companies will cover any suits. The passengers were not the only people that lost their father and husband. The person they are suing lost her also.

#31 Ella

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 09:24 PM

QUOTE (Pwalsh @ Mar 13 2008, 08:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think this was a hunting trip, free of charge for those on board. We risk our lives every day by making a decision to do whatever it is we decide to do that day. These men made a decision to take a trip and an accident happened. I don't understand why anyone should get to sue another person because an accident happened. Each man made a decision to fly that day with friends for what was to be a fun weekend but ended in tragedy.

What I find sickening is the fact the day after the accident, their was a link to an attorney's office stating: "If you had a loved one in this plane crash please contact ....... (Who is really going to get money)?

I agree! Life insurance is what is supposed to help sustain a family when this kind of thing happened - that's why people have hundreds of thousands and even million dollar + life insurance policies, especially on the bread-winner in a family. We are talking about friends going on a trip together and tragedy struck - maybe we should all have people sign waivers when they ride in our car, jump on our trampoline, swim in our pool, etc to make sure if there's an ACCIDENT their families won't come back and sue us for all we've got!!!

I will continue praying for the families involved...
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Chronicles 7:14

#32 Slumber Parties by Kelly

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 09:28 PM

My youngest son broke his arm 2 times within 10 months at the same daycare (he is like his MOm....a big klutz).

After the 2nd time, I had lawyers calling me at work, and at home. I did not sue but they can be sharks. They were promising me the moon and playing on my emotions, and I did not even think it was the daycare's fault.

My point is this: a slick lawyer could have convinced this greiving family that it was Rakestraw's fault and he needs to pay. No telling what this family has been told.


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#33 Sons Of Liberty

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 09:33 PM

the curruption lives on.

No Army Can Stop An Idea Who's Time Has Come


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form

-declaration of independence


#34 MafiaChick

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 11:31 PM

QUOTE (NoReason @ Mar 13 2008, 05:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
All about money. It will not bring the man back. The wife should be ashamed of herself. The kids are old enough to support themselves. She could get out and get a job.

Blast away biggrin.gif



I won't blast you at all, because I'm thinking the EXACT SAME THING. She needs to take into consideration that her husband and the pilot were friends...not what he would've wanted. And talk about greedy!!! These people are struggling to get on with their lives as it is and now you add someone who is too lazy to get off her arse and get a job or make her GROWN kids go to work? Just stupid....
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#35 Madea

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 11:40 PM

QUOTE (UnionMom @ Mar 13 2008, 08:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think you'll find the suit was filed against the insurance company, not the family. It wasn't clear from the article.

You can't sue the insurance company. You sue the individual and the insurance company would pony up the cash if they won. The suit does seem a bit premature. But, quite frankly, to be expected.
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#36 SushiBoofay

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 12:00 AM

QUOTE (Fred-O @ Mar 13 2008, 05:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I didn't think the FAA or NTSB was able to determine who was even flying the airplane at the time of the crash. There were two certified pilots on board in the two front seats. Either could have been flying the airplane. How are they supposed to prove negligence when thay don't even know who was at the controls? It was an accident in bad weather! And all of these guys were friends going on a hunting trip. I'd be pissed at my wife if she sued one of my friends in a situation like this.



Steve Simpson was a certified pilot, but he didn't have training for that type of aircraft so only Wesley Rakestraw could have been the PIC (Pilot-in-command). I'm sure Steve was riding "shotgun" (co-pilot seat) just because he loved flying aircrafts so much!

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#37 ShortyRT

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 01:19 PM

Just a quick FYI - This is most likely like the wreck that Barbara Mandel had. The only way to get HER insurance to pay was for her to sue the driver of the other car. It is likely that these guys DID have life insurance but the only way to collect was to sue the person who "appears" to be responsibile.

I would be willing to bet that the family of the friend/pilot have been told this as well. It is another thing that you can't believe everything the way the media slants it.

Of course I could be long but this is what it appears to be to me.

#38 UnionMom

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 01:42 PM

QUOTE (Madea @ Mar 14 2008, 12:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You can't sue the insurance company. You sue the individual and the insurance company would pony up the cash if they won. The suit does seem a bit premature. But, quite frankly, to be expected.

Since when can you not sue an insurance company?





#39 feelip

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 04:13 PM

Anyone that didn't see this coming is living in their own little world. The airplane was registered to Blue Skyways are something similar to that. Since it was registered to a corporation and not an individual that should protect the owner's personal assets so that any settlements will be limited to the insurance.
Maybe poker's just not your game Ike. I know! Let's have a spelling contest!




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