Trial Under Way In Brisbane, Australia
They say the website is 'factual', but we're skeptical that the site that has been established by an LA law firm to follow a personal injury trial in Brisbane, Australia involving a Robinson R22 helicopter will have much good to say about the helo manufacturer or its products.
Robinson Helicopter is the lone defendant in a trial which began in Brisbane, Australia on Thursday, September 13th in the Supreme Court of Queensland. The trial was expected to last 14 days. The justice presiding over the trial has ordered that the case be bifurcated. If successful on liability, the damage phase will begin sometime thereafter.
A rancher identified by as Graham McDermott and his wife sued the helicopter manufacturer following an accident in which the pilot of the aircraft was fatally injured and Mr. McDermott was severely injured. The accident occurred in May, 2004, on McDermott's 1.5 million acre cattle ranch in Queensland, Australia. According to the law firm Owen, Patterson, & Owen, McDermott was no longer able to operate his 1.5 million acre cattle ranch due to his injuries. The firm said it is anticipated that Mr. McDermott's economic loss will be "very substantial."
The pilot was certified and licensed to fly the Robinson model R22 helicopter. Thirty minutes into the flight, the helicopter went down, and the fuel tank ruptured. A post-crash fire ensued. The helicopter pilot sustained fatal injuries in the accident, and Mr. McDermott suffered severe burns on his body.
The plaintiffs, who are reportedly seeking $75 million (Australian), contend that had the maintenance manual set out the proper procedures for mechanics to maintain a component part, referred to as a flex plate, the accident would not have occurred. The Australian Transportation Safety Bureau indicated that the flex plate failed due to "the initiation and growth of a fatigue crack at one of the bolted connections between the plate and the main rotor gearbox yoke."
As with the NTSB, ATSB reports are not admissible as evidence in court.
Personal injury attorney Greg Owen said, “It is our understanding that there are lawsuits throughout the world involving Robinson Helicopter. The information obtained through this trial will be important to prevent future accidents involving Robinson helicopters.”
Mind you this self-serving statement is fairly humorous, albeit quasi-accurate... in that there are, indeed, Robinson lawsuits throughout the world... just as there are plenty of hungry lawyers throughout the world to sue the helicopter manufacturer.
The firm says it plans to provide critical documents pertaining to the trial to AAJ and CAALA, the largest lawyer organizations in the world. They will also say the purpose of the site is to keep the public 'informed' (and no doubt, drive a few new clients to their doors...)
(Robinson R22 image from file)