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Monday, February 7, 2022

Federal Judge Issues Over $230,000,000 Verdict Against United States Government for Sutherland Springs Shooting

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS— U.S. Federal District Court Judge Xavier Rodriguez issued a verdict today against the United States Government in the amount of $230,000,000 for the Government’s role in causing the shooting at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church on November 5, 2017. Twenty-six souls perished and twenty-two more were seriously injured in the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history. The verdict will compensate more than 80 family members of victims and survivors who filed suit against the government. Read the full verdict here.

In April of 2021, Judge Rodriguez ruled that the Air Force was 60 percent responsible for the shooting. Rodriguez found that for more than thirty years, the Air Force negligently and dangerously failed to report thousands of violent felons into the FBI criminal background check system. That system, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), is designed to prevent convicted criminals from purchasing or possessing firearms. One of those felons illegally purchased an assault rifle with multiple high-capacity magazines and used to commit the shooting at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church.

In a 185-page opinion, Judge Rodriguez individually evaluated each of the victims’ losses and rendered a verdict that family legal representatives agree falls within settled law in Texas state and federal courts for similar instances of grievous loss. He explained: “The losses and pain these families have experienced is immeasurable. Our civil justice system only allows us to rectify these kinds of losses through money damages. Valuing human life, pain, and suffering is a task that our justice system has imposed on judges and juries, and the methodology used by both has been varied…. Ultimately, there is no satisfying way to determine the worth of these families’ pain.”


Read more . . .


Monday, February 7, 2022

Speiser Krause Welcomes Richard E. Genter to the Firm


Speiser Krause is pleased to announce that Richard E. Genter is now of counsel to the firm. For more than forty years, Richard has litigated complex aviation cases in numerous federal and state courts, both at the trial and appellate level. Formerly a member of the Philadelphia, PA based firm, Wolk & Genter, specializing in aviation accident litigation, Richard opened his own practice in 2004, where he has successfully litigated scores of general aviation accident cases on behalf of victims who have been catastrophically injured or killed in air crashes caused by defective products supplied or manufactured by airframe, engine and component part manufacturers, as well as accidents caused by the negligence of maintenance facilities, aircraft owners and operators, and air traffic controllers.

Richard is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University and The Temple University Law School and is admitted to practice in the state courts of Pennsylvania and in the United States District Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of Colorado, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Third and Ninth Circuits.


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Friday, November 12, 2021

Crash of Cessna Citation owned by Brook Haven Properties LLC

Speiser Krause is monitoring the investigation into the September 2, 2021 crash of a Cessna Citation XLS business jet (FAA Registration Number N560AR) that crashed during an attempted takeoff from Robertson Field in Plainville, Connecticut. Tragically, the passengers, a married couple, were two young physicians who left behind a one-year-old son and the wife was also pregnant at the time of the tragedy. The two-person flight crew were also killed, and four individuals sustained injuries when the aircraft crashed into a building, one of whom sustained serious injuries.


Read more . . .


Friday, August 27, 2021

Update Regarding Southeast Aviation N1249K De Havilland Beaver Sightseeing Crash near Ketchikan, Alaska on August 5, 2021


The National Transportation released its Preliminary Report into the crash of the Southeast Aviation sightseeing de Havilland Beaver that occurred on August 5, 2021, approximately 18 miles from Ketchikan, Alaska. Tragically, the Preliminary Report indicates that the crash was another example of an accident involving controlled flight into terrain (“CFIT”) in poor visibility during an Alaskan sightseeing tour.

Although not mentioned in the Preliminary Report, the pilot of the accident aircraft had been involved in an accident in Alaska approximately one month before the crash. During a water taxi to takeoff, the aircraft struck a buoy, flipped over, and suffered substantial damage. The pilot, who was alone at the time, was uninjured.
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Friday, August 6, 2021

Southeast Aviation De Havilland Beaver Sight Seeing Crash near Ketchikan, Alaska on August 5, 2021

Tragedy has again struck in Alaska. On August 5, 2021, there was yet another plane crash of a sight-seeing flight involving cruise ship passengers that docked in Ketchikan, Alaska. The passengers, who were aboard the Holland America ship Nieuw Amsterdam, were on a sightseeing flight operated by Southeast Aviation in a de Havilland Beaver float plane. Early reports indicate that five passengers and the pilot were killed when the aircraft impacted mountainous terrain in poor weather. There were reports of rain and mist in the area with a ceiling of 900 feet.


Read more . . .


Friday, January 31, 2020

Update Regarding Crash of Island Express Holding Corp. Sikorsky S-76B N72EX on January 26, 2020, in Calabasas, California

On January 26, 2020, eight passengers along with the pilot were tragically killed when the Sikorsky-76B aircraft they were travelling in crashed into mountainous terrain at an altitude of roughly 1,085 feet above sea level near Calabasas, California.  Early reports indicate that weather may play a critical role in the accident investigation as the aircraft encountered dense fog in the minutes leading up to the crash.

The helicopter took off on the morning of Sunday, January 26, 2020, at 9:06 a.m. from Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, carrying the eight passengers who were travelling to a youth basketball game that was to take place at a sports academy located in Thousand Oaks, California. Passengers included NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who owned the sports academy, and his daughter, as well as other players on the youth team, their family members and their coach.  The aircraft was operating under visual flight rules (“VFR”), meaning that it was intended that the flight was to take place in clear skies allowing the pilot to operate the aircraft with visual reference to the ground and by visually avoiding obstructions and other aircraft, without totally depending on navigational instruments. 


Read more . . .


Thursday, April 4, 2019

April 4, 2019 Update Regarding the Crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

The Ethiopian Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau released its Preliminary Report in connection with the ongoing investigation into the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.  A copy of the Preliminary Report can be found here

The Report raises serious issues with Boeing’s design of the 737 Max fleet, especially with respect to the aircraft’s ability to interpret and properly process airspeed information, the aircraft’s angle of attack sensors and the automatic anti-stall system known as the M.C.A.S.  Indeed, given the similarities between the two recent 737 Max aircraft tragedies, namely that improper airspeed indications, angle of attack sensors and the M.C.A.S. played a role in each crash, we believe that the aircraft must remain grounded until the “fixes” proposed by Boeing are thoroughly vetted and undergo stringent independent analysis to ensure that no tragedy like this ever occurs again.  Further, we feel it is important to fully investigate and analyze Boeing’s role in the certification process that allowed these defects to make their way to the flying public.


Read more . . .


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Second Update Regarding the Crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, the United States and Canada each issued emergency orders grounding the fleet of Boeing 737-8 and 737-9 Max aircraft (the “737 Max aircraft”).  A copy of the FAA’s Emergency Order can be found here.  The emergency order permits those aircraft currently in the air to proceed to landing at their intended destinations but once the aircraft has landed, they will not be allowed to engage in further flight until aviation authorities lift the emergency orders.  The air carrier, however, may apply for non-passenger special ferry flight permits to move the aircraft for storage, modification, testing or maintenance.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Update on the Crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

In the aftermath of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, numerous aviation authorities throughout the world have called into question the safety of the 737 Max 8 model aircraft.  Although the Federal Aviation Administration and The Boeing Company have issued statements attesting to the aircraft’s safety, foreign aviation authorities are justifiably concerned that the crash of Ethiopian Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610 share a common causal connection.  As a result, various foreign countries, and airlines, have grounded the 737 Max 8 fleet until more information is known regarding the causes of each crash.  China, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, India and the European Union have each banned the 737 Max 8 aircraft from operating within its borders or airspace.  A copy of the Emergency Airworthiness Directive issued by the European Union prohibiting the 737 Max 8 aircraft from operating in Europe can be found here.  In fact, the only two governments continuing to allow the aircraft to operate within their borders or airspace are the United States and Canada.


Read more . . .


Monday, March 11, 2019

Crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302

On March 10, 2018 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed six minutes after take-off, tragically killing all 157 passengers and crew.  The flight departed from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia bound for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.  Citizens from at least 32 different countries were on board, and many were employees of the United Nations who were travelling to Kenya to participate in an environmental conference. 


Read more . . .


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Preliminary Report Released by Indonesian Aviation Authorities

Indonesian authorities released a preliminary report regarding their findings into the crash of Lion Air Flight 610.  As mentioned in prior posts, early reports indicated that accident investigators were focusing on the aircraft’s new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (M.C.A.S.) which is an automated system designed to prevent the aircraft from entering an aerodynamic stall.  The preliminary report confirmed that this was the investigators’ focus, although the report stated that it was still too early to identify a specific cause for the crash.


Read more . . .


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