'Only Amends Will Restore The Widow's Dignity'
News and Analysis By Jim Campbell, Editor-In-Chief (But Please
Don't Sue Me...)
One of my favorite authors of all time, Robert Heinlein, wrote
of a fictional historical period in which anything goes... he
called it the "Crazy Years."
Folks... welcome to the Crazy Years.
At a time when there seems to be no end to the types of
litigation that might be waged around the world for all manner of
slights, real and imagined, we seem to have hit a new low.
According to press releases issued by an organization alleging to
represent the victims of a tragic Brazilian 737 crash, respected
NYT Columnist Joe Sharkey is being sued for his reporting of a
midair collision in which he had an unusual and intimate view...
having been in one of the aircraft (an Embraer Legacy 600, shown
below) that was involved -- and the only one to have made it to the
ground without fatal result.
The indemnification lawsuit was brought against US Journalist
Joseph M. Sharkey by Rosane Gutjhar, the widow of one of the GOL
flight 1907 crash victims.
According to the
release received by ANN, "The Association of Relatives and Friends
of Gol's Flight 1907 Victims reports that Rosane Gutjhar, the widow
of Rolf Ferdinando Gutjhar, one of the victims of Flight 1907,
which went down on September 29, 2006, is bringing a lawsuit
against US journalist Joseph M. Sharkey seeking compensation for
The press release goes on to state that, "The lawsuit is of
concern to the association, which was founded after the accident
between Gol's Boeing 737 and a Legacy jet, with the purpose of
providing support to the relatives of the victims as well as
supervising the investigations on the second largest aerial
accident in Brazil's history, which carried a death toll of 154
people in the state of Mato Grosso."
The victims group asserts that, "On board the Legacy jet, which
collided with Boeing 737-800 belonging to Gol Linhas Aéreas
airline, he published articles in his internet blog so as to push
his country to prevent the Legacy jet pilots from returning to
Brazil, and used language which was, according to Rosane, offensive
against all victims' families and Brazilians. To Gutjhar's lawyer,
that fact, in itself, would not be reproachable, but the journalist
launched personal attacks against Brazil's President, air traffic
controllers and other notorious individuals and, repeatedly and
piercingly, started offending Brazilians indiscriminately, as
explained by Oscar Fleischfresser, one of the lawyers responsible
for the lawsuit."
According to the lawyer, 'besides tragically losing her husband,
Rosane Gutjhar feels she is being discriminated against by the
treatment offered to the American defendants in the criminal case
underway in Brazil and in addition, together with other Brazilians,
she was publicly attacked by Joseph Sharkey.'
"Nothing can justify the words he used against all Brazilians.
All I want from him is to take it all back," says Rosane. "Only
amends will restore the widow's dignity," states her lawyer.
In the civil suit filed at the 18th Civil Court of Curitiba, it
is suggested as a reference for compensation for moral damages an
amount similar to the one that would be awarded should the
journalist be convicted in his own country. "That would be a means
to effectively prevent this type of behavior. Another request is
that a court order be issued for the journalist to apologize to all
Brazilian citizens, in the same media used by him," concludes
ANN has contacted Mr. Sharkey and the New York Times for their
reaction. You can be sure we'll have more on this story...