Mirage From Portugal, joined May 1999, 3120 posts, RR: 15 Reply 1, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3152 times:
Based on the legislation, Air France can in fact sue Continental "every airline is responsible for damage caused by any piece of its own aircrafts", but I think the airport authority should also be sued because they are responsible for keeping the runway in full operational conditions (there was no runway inspecction before the Concorde take off).
B737-700 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3124 times:
That's right Mirage but you also can't expect that the airport authority checks the runway all the time.
I know it sounds stupid but they can't do it.
Shouldn't the controllers have seen the piece ?? I mean it was pretty big.
MTriton From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 3093 times:
They're looking for a scape goat. Maybe I'm just ignorant, but I don't see how a busted tire could have caused the accident. I haven't paid much attention to the investigation process though, so I probably missed the sound explanation.
Flashmeister From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2891 posts, RR: 7 Reply 5, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3077 times:
They are DEFINITELY looking for a scapegoat. Come on...
The bottom line is that for all its grace, the Concorde has a serious, dangerous design deficiency. IMHO, the airworthiness certificate should have been pulled when it was. Think of it - if 757s or some such plane started falling out of the sky because one tire ruptured, there's not a chance that the FAA would look the other way.
Air France is not an airline that takes blame or any fault easily. Look at the A320 test pilot situation. All AF wants to do is point the finger and come out looking like another one of the victims here.
I know there are AF supporters on this forum, and I don't want to start a war, but AF needs to grow up and behave like an airline rather than an image company.
AKelley728 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2139 posts, RR: 6 Reply 6, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3058 times:
The strip of metal was only ten inches long; there is no way the controllers could've seen it.
It's really unfortunate that Air France decided to do this; like everybody is saying, they're simply looking for a scapegoat. If they want to sue anybody they should sue the manufacturers of the Concorde (BAe and Aerospatiale) for making an aircraft that is inherently flawed; that is, it's extremely vulnerable to FOD damage such as this. Or maybe Goodyear, for making a tire that can't handle running over a 10" piece of metal.
ContinentalEWR From United States of America, joined May 2000, 3762 posts, RR: 14 Reply 7, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3068 times:
Air France can certainly sue Continental Airlines but they will have to prove that Continental demonstrated
proximate cause in contributing to this crash and this
will be difficult, if not impossible.
While it is becoming increasingly clear that the metal
strip, most likely from the Continental DC10-30 that
took off moments before the doomed SSC has been
the culprit in a catastrophic chain of events, there
have been prior incidents involving Concorde tires
being sensitive. At takeoff speeds of 550 mph, it
would seem natural that the tires should be able
to withstand forces within reason. There had been
prior incidents of tire blowouts, including one on
an AF SSC at IAD in 1979. The plane was able to
land safely. This points to a design flaw on the
Concorde and its manufacturers are therefore to
be considered involuntarily negligent, as is ADP
for not adopting safety standards to ensure that
a runway is cleared of debris prior to a SSC take-
off roll and Air France itself. After all, the 1979
incident points to the fact that extra care should
have been taken on those tires.
As for Continental, well loosing aircraft parts,
even those not deemed critical for the safe
operational of an aircraft is not commendable
and is somewhat negligent, but Air France
would have to prove gross negligence and
that will be very hard to do. Those DC10's
need to be retired soon but I still don't
think you can ultimately prove Continental
responsible for this crash. It was a
contributing factor (maybe even the cause)
but it was just bad luck, not negligence on
the part of the airline.
What if the AF4590 had not been delayed?
Then it would have taken off before the
Continental DC10.....It's just bad luck.
Flashmeister From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2891 posts, RR: 7 Reply 8, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3053 times:
The thing that really stinks about this is that AF and it's moron attorneys will probably be successful in milking at least some money from CO for this, and if they win, it could really zap some financial momentum from a carrier that has done such an astounding job of turning itself around.
For all the nasty things I've said about CO over the years, they've done a great job and I would like to think at least that gross negligence would be the last thing to expect from them.
AF and its insurers should be ashamed of themselves. Rather than fault their precious beauty, they want to be martyrs at the hands of a Yankee fault. They're exploiting the lives lost on that flight to save their own face just as shamelessly as a greasy lawyer chases an ambulance.
AF-A319 From France, joined Oct 1999, 603 posts, RR: 4 Reply 9, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3038 times:
Don't be supid. This is a business thing. Not something which concerns any "hatred" against the yankees.
I'm sure that Continental, or any other airline, would have sued Air France, if they were in the same situation. I would agree with that.
Morecy From United States of America, joined May 2000, 216 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3018 times:
Give me a break on the yankee bashing already. This is just business and in today's environment an incident like this sets off a chain reaction of lawsuits; you haul out the lawyers, go for the deep pockets and play the game. It's unfortunate and it's ugly but that's the way it is.
Guess the AF/CO "alliance" isn't going to last long now.
JetService From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 4798 posts, RR: 12 Reply 14, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3012 times:
Was the 10" strip of metal thrown into the fuel tank/engine or did the resulting tire failure cause the engine fire? I could see cause on Continental's part for the strip blowing the tire, but a blown tire bringing a plane down sounds like a design flaw to me. Geez that a scary thought. Like the experts say, rarely does one event cause a fatal crash, it's usually 2 or 3 things going wrong at one time. So Continental may or may not be the cause of one of those factors, but who's to blame for the other(s)?
Killjoy From Finland, joined Dec 1999, 646 posts, RR: 0 Reply 15, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2986 times:
I agree with the people who said that the yankee-thing isn't relevant. I *don't* think that any other airline would've done the same, however. At least I hope not... Anyway, the others haven't really gotten a chance to do something like this, so they're innocent until proven guilty...
And about crashes in general: Why is it that airlines get sued immediately no matter if it was just bad luck or not? And usually they lose, too, which I find even more disgusting.
The usual argument by the people who are trying to regain some of their dignity after jumping on the get-rich-quick-wagon is that the loss of money will make the airline more careful about losing airplanes. Do these people know what heavy jets cost??? There's no way an airline can be complacent about hull losses even without the lawsuits.
The only reason I'd ever sue an airline for is if they killed someone thanks to direct incompetence/ignorance and could prove it beyond doubt (to myself, that is, since courtrooms these days seem to need much less to persuade them).
Now that I think about it, I can't understand (or approve of) most of the lawsuits *outside* the aviation business either, but that's another story...
AirCanadaSFO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 16, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2980 times:
"That's right Mirage but you also can't expect that the airport authority checks the runway all the time.
I know it sounds stupid but they can't do it. "
We're not talking about what they can or can't do. We're talking about legalities, and when you talk about legalities you talk about what they should do. So there is some responsibility there.
Air France is definitely looking for a scapegoat, in my opinion. I think part of it has to do with the fact that Continental is a US carrier and an easy target when it comes to the injured patriotic pride of the French, and part of it is that doing this gives the image around the world that Air France is absolved of any fault in this issue.
The fact is, the Concorde is an extremely fragile aircraft. This accident just exposed a major design flaw in the Concorde that had gone unnoticed for thirty years! Continental isn't to blame here. Neither is Air France. This was just one of those things that happen. But Air France, in the eyes of industry professionals, is crying foul when there is no foul.
Jaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 17, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2963 times:
Has it been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the 17 x 1 inch strip caused the tire burst? Or is it merely a theoretical premise? Have investigators conducted analyses on the burst tire (if it wasn't completely destroyed in the crash)?
But even if the strip did cause the tire burst, this would bring up a full scale analyis of whether the Concorde was or should have been designed to withstand such physical damage. Also, did CDG contractually agree to examine the runaway before any Concorde take offs? It appears that there are way too many issues to consider before any liability actions can be taken.
Avilitigator From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 214 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2954 times:
We had a long discussion on CO's possible liability a few weeks ago (search for "Piece of CO DC-10 caused Concorde Crash"), so here's a sample to bring this discussion in context:
I agree that my original post was unclear whether CO could
be held liable for the crash as a third party, or whether
there are causes of action separate from the Warsaw
Convention whereby AF could sue CO for a contribution.
Again, the answer lies in French law, which I am not
familiar with so if anyone out there has any knowledge on
this, please contribute.
Based on my knowledge of American law, however, I believe
that it will be highly unlikely that CO can be held
legally or financially liable for the Concorde crash.
Under American tort law, which differs slightly between
each state and in federal law, the main issue of liability
is causation. There are two types of causation: (1)
causation in fact and (2) causation in law. For liability
to ensue the aggrieved parties (AF and the familes of
those killed in the crash) would have to prove both (1)
and (2). If they prove only (1) but not (2), CO would not
be held liable. Let me explain the difference between (1)
(1) Causation in Fact.
This is the "original" event that causes a chain reaction
of events leading to the ultimate event at issue. For
instance, let's say a button falls off my suit sleeve onto
the floor of a busy subway, causing somebody to slip on
the button and fall onto the tracks, thereby prompting the
subway operator to slam on the train's brakes, leading to
the derailment of the train and the injuries and deaths of
many train passengers. The button from my suit would be
the cause in fact of the train accident. However, it would
not necessarily be the legal cause of the train accident
because there were independent incidents that were not
forseeable or broke the chain of causation. What then
would allow for a finding of causation in law?
(2) Causation in Law.
Let's alter the facts now to say that I lost a button from
my suit the week before, and somebody slipped on the
button and broke his leg. If the second victim could prove
this, I would be liable for that person's injuries because
as a matter of law, I knew from the previous week's
incidents that if I didn't check my buttons, one may fall
off in a busy place and cause someone to slip. However, if
I can show that it is the duty of the subway maintenence
crews to sweep the floor of the subway platform for debris
and that they failed to sweep for debris, I can bring in
the maintenence crew as third party defendants in the
lawsuit. I could then argue that the crews were liable
because they broke the chain of causation by their failure
to sweep. Let's say that the maintenance crew could show
that they did everything possible, according to industry
standard, to check for debris (let's assume that the
industry standard is to check for debris 3 times a day
rather than after each train leaves the station). In that
case, I would be held liable for the injuries to the
person who slipped on the button. However, there is
another chain of events to consider: whether it was
forseeable that the person would fall onto the tracks and
cause the train's derailment and passengers' deaths. If a
party could prove this, then the chain of causation would
be complete and I could be held liable for the damage to
the train and the deaths of passengers, as a matter of
law. This is the weakest link of the chain.
Now let's apply these scenarios to the real life incidents
that took place on that fateful day. CO is the person
whose "button" fell off his suit. If you can prove that CO
knew from prior incidents that its engines' "buttons" came
off during takeoff and caused damage to another plane,
then you would have your first step in causation. Many
forumites have suggested that CO should have completed a
more thorough check of its DC-10 prior to takeoff.
However, there is no evidence so far that the part that
fell off its engine had ever fallen off before on other CO
DC-10s (or any other airlines' DC-10s for that matter),
and no evidence that a part like that caused any damage to
another airplane. Evidence that other parts of the DC-10
are flawed are largely irrelevant. The question should be
what was the industry standard for maintenance checks on
DC-10s? If the airline personnel and ground crews
performed up to industry standards and checked what needed
to be checked (please, if the relevant people on this
website could provide information on what the "industry
standard" is, that would be helpful), then CO would be
absolved of liability. If CO's maintenence personnel
didn't perform up to industry standards, then it could be
held at least partly liable for the damage to the
Concorde's burst tire, assuming that the airport runway
maintenence crews also performed up to industry standard
by checking for runway debris on their regular schedule.
Now follows the weakest link in the causation chain that I
mentioned earlier. AF and BA both knew from prior
incidents that the tires of their Concorde jets were
susceptible to damage from runway debris, or even without
debris but from the inherent nature of the high pressure
tires themselves to explode on takeoff. However, up to the
day of the AF crash, there had never been a Concorde that
had crashed as a result of runway debris or tire parts
damaging its fuel tanks. This is where all the speculation
begins because all the facts and reports are not yet
available. AF and BA both maintain that, prior to the AF
crash, tire blowouts were non-catastrophic and survivable
Thus, to hold CO liable in law for the AF crash, you would
have to prove several things: (1) CO knew or should have
known, based on prior incidents, that the part that fell
of its engine was likely to fall off upon takeoff; (2) CO
did not meet industry standard in its regular and
pre-flight maintenence checks; (3) the runway maintenence
crews met its industry standard in checking for runway
debris; and (4) it was forseeable, based on prior
incidents, that a Concorde would not survive a tire
blowout upon takeoff.
If the final reports indicate that the DC-10 part flew up
from runway after contacting a tire, then punctured a fuel
tank, causation would still be a problem because there is
no evidence that runway debris in the past have ever
punctured a Concorde's fuel tanks.
I apologize if I have any facts wrong regarding the
Concorde crash (please correct any mistakes, my friends),
but I stand by my legal reasoning.
Thanks for the opportunity to contribute to this topic.
D L X From United States of America, joined May 1999, 10789 posts, RR: 52 Reply 21, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2931 times:
If it wasn't the fault of the plane, the plane would still be flight-legal. It is not. Had any other jet ran over this piece of metal, the worst that would have happened is a blowout. The fact is, this plane has proven it is too fragile to fly under anything but the most pristene conditions. I doubt this lawsuit will get very far.
Legalman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 22, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2923 times:
Have you ever tired a personal injury suit? Your sum of causation is good, but let me tell you in practice it's a different ball game. The four steps you outlined are open to much litigation and that's where a large bulk of discovery would occur (if in the US). You didnt mention the other important factors for a tort claim, injury and duty. Co. has a duty to ensure their aircraft are free from defects. Having a piece fall off an aircraft is a major breach of duty and many cases are not won on the causation issue. You can link causation to any fact pattern. The bottom line comes down to what a jury believes, no matter how clear-cut the case is. Also, you didn't factor the evidence problems that may arise in the case. That's a whole other ball of wax for another day. It should be interesting to see what happens though.
Avilitigator From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 214 posts, RR: 0 Reply 23, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2909 times:
Thanks for providing more information on how this case would be tried in the US. You're right that I've never tried a personal injury case -- my background is appellate (work at the US Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit) and securities law (worked at a large silicon valley firm). The reason I didn't talk about injury is that it seemed pretty obvious that there was injury in this case. I talked obliquely about duty when I mentioned industry standard, but didn't use the "duty" buzz word because when I posted that particular message, I was considering the audience (predominantly non-legal) and the topic (Piece of CO DC-10 Caused Concorde Crash), which emphasized the word "cause". It was CO's "industry standard duty" to check their planes regularly and before each flight, which I mentioned in the post, and that's why I admitted in that post I didn't know what that standard was and that others with such knowledge should chime in with information on what such maintenenance/checks involve. Thus, no need to get nasty with me. What your post points out though, which I totally agree with, is that there are many unresolved issues and many legal opinions, but the court of public opinion will have the final say in this matter.
PhilB From Ireland, joined May 1999, 2915 posts, RR: 14 Reply 24, posted (13 years 2 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2898 times:
FACT: A piece of metal was found on the runway after the crash "probably" from a CO DC10.
FACT: With even the best maintenance, bits fall of aircraft.
FACT: Airport runways are supposed to be swept regularly and inspected even more regularly for FOs.
FACT: ADP (Aeroports de Paris) admit omitting a sweeping operation due to a fire practice but this does not seem to have any bearing on the case as the Continental DC10 took off after this should have taken place.
FACT: Concorde tyre problems were well known.
OPINION: ADP and Air France should have arranged a runway inspection before every Concorde take off.
OPINION: Air France is clutching at straws BUT, given the French legal process, this could run for years and really cost Continental.
OPINION: Any thoughts of this being a way to get at the Americans is just paranoia on the part of US participants on this site - AF would have sued anyone whose aircraft had shed a piece of metal.
OPINION: They should also sue ADP, but they won't, that just isn't playing Boules.
25 Gyro: It's ridiculous that AF is going to sue CO, absolutely ridiculous!!!! The Concorde in my opinion is already living a "borrowed" life. this aircraft sh
26 Mls515: The Concorde sure is an eggshell client!
27 Legalman: I didnt mean to sound nasty, I didnt have alot of time to write so I had to do it fast. 9th circut,eh? Is Ponser there or is that 6th?
28 LHMark: Would this case proceed in the US or France? How similar are the French legalities in this matter to the US legalities?
29 Avilitigator: Hey, no problem, apology accepted. Judge Posner works for the 7th Circuit (Indiana). The 9th Circuit (SFO, western states) gets all the airplane crash
30 PhilB: Gyro, your opinion re Concorde being retired doesn't hold water. The airframes are good for 40,000 hours currently. The lead ship has a little over 23
31 Flashmeister: Look, I apologize for what was probably a passionate post. I don't think that AF has it in for Americans per se, but they are pointing the finger at a
32 Avilitigator: This is from the CNN.com website: "The lawsuit was filed by Air France and airline insurance consortium Reunion Aerienne at a court in Pontoise, outsi
33 Goingboeing: Well, from the articles I've read, the lawsuits are based on the French Civil Aviation Code that say that "an airline is fully responsible for objects
34 LH423: How is Continental responsible? Pieces fall off planes quite frequently, either tyre pieces, or otherwise, these do happen. Even if the Continental pi
35 Ab.400: LH423, " Pieces fall off planes quite frequently ". Do you have any backup for this statement ?
36 Clipperhawaii: Well, well, well, It looks as though the Americans are going to get the blame yet again! When this tragedy occured I said someway, somehow, the Americ
37 Gyro: PhilB What I mean is that the Concorde is and was an ilogical plane, just as ilogical as sending men to the moon. The Concorde to it's operators prese
38 Gyro: Me again, so O.K. it's only accumulated 23,000 hours in 30 years a little over half of what the airframe is certified for (40,000 hours). But does thi
39 Ryanair: I second everything Phil B says. Sadly, I know a bit about what happens after fatal plane crashes. The legal matters are dealt with by the Airline in
40 PhilB: I'm not going to go through the age versus hours versus cycles discussion, which I have repeated ad nauseam on this and other groups.. BA and Air Fran
41 Cba: This whole Concorde accident seems like one of those "shit happens" accidents. What are the odds that a piece of metal will fall off a plane, and that
42 Gyro: Seems like PhilB and Ryanair are pretty much agreeing on this... by the way Ryanair, I hope you didn't mean the 113 innocent people that died a horrib
43 Peter: If its true that the crash was caused by a part from a Continental plane, I agree with Air France. Continental may have caused the Concorde to crash,
44 Chieftain: Why didn't Air France make the wing modifications to its aircraft like BA did many years ago. I think CO and the passenger's family should sue AF for
45 TWAneedsNOhelp: Does BA check the runway immediately before every concorde movement or did I not understand that correctly? If they do, hard questions will land on AF
46 LH423: How about the A320's little problem in which on two different planes, with two different carriers, the cowling locks?? have released causing the horiz
47 Chieftain: BA's modification involved some kind of structural modification. Not sure at all if the check the runway before each SST departure. Considering there
48 TheCroupier: ...Boeing jets and "litigious nature". It been cited (Wall Street Journal, others) that American-style litigation is fast becoming the norm world-wide
49 Chieftain: I wonder if Air France has ever lost a part off an engine in 67 years of service. I'm sure its happened!
50 L_188: This really shouldn't surprise anybody......
51 RIX: BA modified water deflectors to stay in one piece in case of tire burst. AF didn't do this. If it is not strictly proven that pieces of tire, not of w
52 Chieftain: But even if only water deflectors were changed....still proves the engines highly prone to FOD
53 RIX: Certainly true, but talking of this case... if it was really a piece of deflector, then AF would face great problems, I think...
54 David_mx: Airfrance has been flying SST's for 30 years, I can be sure they knew about tires and structural problems on concordes... therefore the consequences o
55 AirCanadaSFO: Clipperhawaii wrote: Well, well, well, It looks as though the Americans are going to get the blame yet again! When this tragedy occured I said someway
56 AF-A319: AirCanadaSFO, I'm really sorry to have to write this post, but I can't bear such stupid words. When will you understand that most French and European
57 Ryanair: My apologies for any offence caused, but it is offensive when 113 innocent people are killed, remember the pictures, they would have known they were a
58 D L X: And what makes you think that the companies are not thinking about the victims? The lawsuit is for a lot more than the cost of a Concorde and a hotel.
59 AirCanadaSFO: AF-319 wrote: Business is business. Business is not nationalism. --------------------- So then why isn't Air France suing Aeroports de Paris for not k
60 AKelley728: Well said AirCanadaSFO! I've been saying this all along - If Air France needs to sue anybody, it's BAe and Aerospatiale for building an aircraft with
61 AFa340-300E: Hello, "it's BAe and Aerospatiale for building an aircraft with an inherent design flaw. What's worse is that this FOD problem has come up in the past
62 RIX: "the suveys conducted after the 1979 incident showed that a tyre blow alone couldn't damage to the wing and go through the fuel tanks. This is because
63 Superfly: I know I am coming in a little late on this forum, but did Pam Am and KLM sue each other over the two 747s that collided in the Canary Islands back in
64 AFa340-300E: Hello, RIX, unless you have some evidence against the DGAC investigation conducted in 1979 after the incident: yes, I'll stick to it. Best regards, Al