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ptmac
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Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:54 pm

I saw this is the Guardian this morning and thought that the legal aspects of this tragedy better suited a separate thread from the accident thread. Of course, in the lawsuit, the plaintiffs will have to prove the cause had to do with negligence. There is a crossover with the accident thread, but my experience in aviation is that there is too little discussion of the legal aftermath.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/feb/24/vanessa-kobe-bryant-lawsuit-wrongful-death-helicopter-crash
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:10 pm

Suing, I’m shocked, shocked. She is certainly well financed. Shouldn’t there be an “assumption of risk” at some level? Until, the NTSB report is out, where’s proof of negligence? If there’s no violation of regulation or willful disregard of the FAR, can’t it just be an accident? S**t Happens to Good People and Bad.
 
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enilria
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:14 pm

This is just some sort of insurance created lawsuit I'd wager. The pilot is dead. He was well-trained. He was a co-owner as I understand it. He did not purposely die, so not sure they have much of case. Sure it was pilot error, but they couldn't go IFR and they were in mountains and they had gotten held for 20 minutes waiting for cross-traffic while the weather worsened. Not sure there was another outcome. I guess he could have landed on the highway.
 
ptmac
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:21 pm

As GF says, where is the proof of negligence? This will be a difficult lawsuit to prove. In the meantime, it gives pause for thought about our own liability, which is good.

We really don't know what conditions he was in, or whether he ever lost sight of the ground. Certainly not what initiated the turn and descent. It will be interesting litigation.

We're moving from pilot talk to lawyer talk.
 
SocalApproach
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:05 am

One of those cases where its not really about the plaintiff needing money or wanting it. I dont necessarily say I agree but Its more about doing whatever they (Vanessa) can do to make the other party feel as much pain as her and her family are going through and money is the only lawful and logical way to go about it.

However on another note I can totally see someone taking this the wrong way but I actually thought there was some negligence on the part of Kobe. I have never met the guy but he is portrayed as someone who is very calculated in his decision making and how he carries himself. I understand that alot if not all helicopter operators do not have the requirements to operate IFR in the southern California area due to the weather being good 95% of the year but the fact that Kobe did not have a pilot and operator that could fly IFR was shocking to me. Not that it matters but I was also shocked it was a chartered helicopter. I think most assumed that he owned the chopper himself like Mark Cuban owns his 757. I do not remember who said it but it was either Vanessa or someone close to the Bryant family alleged that Vanessa and Kobe both agreed to never fly in the same Helicopter together. That to me lets me know they both accepted the risk in it and it just shocked me that he wouldn't go the extra mile to make sure that his daughters would be getting the highest degree of safety when traveling by helicopter. The fact that Kobe always requested Ara to be the pilot made me conclude that Is Kobe doing his diligence in wanting the Chief Pilot to always do the flying. I could be way off here though. Maybe Ara was just a pleasant guy to fly with but like I said, Kobe was portrayed not just by the media but by himself to be an extremely intelligent individual so I would lean to the former than the latter. Again I hope no one takes this the wrong way like I am blaming anyone. The entire thing is very unfortunate as we get new details every day but as someone who has watched Kobe their entire adult life and what I know about aviation, If I had the money he did I would make sure the aircraft I am flying my family around in is IFR capable with an IFR rated Pilot and more and while I am at it, 2 Pilots instead of just one.
 
ptmac
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:23 am

I don't know if the practice is the same in the US as it is in Canada, but here the Transportation Safety Board's findings cannot be used in litigation. The Plaintiff has to retain an independent expert to create a second record for the court.
 
KFTG
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:25 am

ptmac wrote:
As GF says, where is the proof of negligence?

The pilot's previous list of FAA violations?
 
ptmac
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:09 am

KFTG wrote:
ptmac wrote:
As GF says, where is the proof of negligence?

The pilot's previous list of FAA violations?


No, a court wouldn't conclude anything from that. Unless the cause of the events can be proven, it won't conclude anything.
 
NZ321
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:30 pm

enilria wrote:
This is just some sort of insurance created lawsuit I'd wager. The pilot is dead. He was well-trained. He was a co-owner as I understand it. He did not purposely die, so not sure they have much of case. Sure it was pilot error, but they couldn't go IFR and they were in mountains and they had gotten held for 20 minutes waiting for cross-traffic while the weather worsened. Not sure there was another outcome. I guess he could have landed on the highway.


Exactly. Landed the darn thing.
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WayexTDI
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:56 pm

ptmac wrote:
KFTG wrote:
ptmac wrote:
As GF says, where is the proof of negligence?

The pilot's previous list of FAA violations?


No, a court wouldn't conclude anything from that. Unless the cause of the events can be proven, it won't conclude anything.

But, wasn't the chopter and/or the operator NOT allowed to fly in foggy situation? Wasn't there other issues (minor) with the pilot?
A lot of those evidence might not be critical taken separately; but, when looking at the whole picture (which is what the lawyers are doing), it could show a pattern of poor judgement that have lead to the tragedy we know. So, prior FAA violation might not, in themselves, prove anything; but they'll add fuel to the lawsuit.
 
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enilria
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 2:58 pm

NZ321 wrote:
enilria wrote:
This is just some sort of insurance created lawsuit I'd wager. The pilot is dead. He was well-trained. He was a co-owner as I understand it. He did not purposely die, so not sure they have much of case. Sure it was pilot error, but they couldn't go IFR and they were in mountains and they had gotten held for 20 minutes waiting for cross-traffic while the weather worsened. Not sure there was another outcome. I guess he could have landed on the highway.


Exactly. Landed the darn thing.

If you look at where he was from the recreated video on youtube, there was nowhere to land except the highway when the clouds closed in. The highway was in a valley between hills on both sides and it appears the hills were right at the cloud line. It's kind of like turning down a one way street only to find it's also a dead end.
 
Iloveboeing
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:05 pm

When one of my grandfathers was hit by a vehicle on the side of the road while fixing a tire, my grandmother's relatives were encouraging her to sue the man who hit him. She said that there was no point in doing so; she said, "it' won't bring him back." The man who hit my grandfather was torn to pieces inside and regretted it from then onward.

Suing over death does not bring peace, comfort or anything else. Money is a temporary thing and I know it says in a certain book I know, "the love of money is the root of all evil."
 
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zeke
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 4:40 pm

WayexTDI wrote:
But, wasn't the chopter and/or the operator NOT allowed to fly in foggy situation? Wasn't there other issues (minor) with the pilot.


The operator was VFR only Part 135, however Part 135 VFR helicopter only requires 1/2 sm visibility. The conditions were still legal for VFR, hence the reason the fire helicopter was first responder on scene.

enilria wrote:
If you look at where he was from the recreated video on youtube, there was nowhere to land except the highway when the clouds closed in.


There were two helicopter pads as well as other open areas they could have landed right near the crash site.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
NIKV69
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:00 pm

ptmac wrote:
As GF says, where is the proof of negligence? This will be a difficult lawsuit to prove. In the meantime, it gives pause for thought about our own liability, which is good.

We really don't know what conditions he was in, or whether he ever lost sight of the ground. Certainly not what initiated the turn and descent. It will be interesting litigation.

We're moving from pilot talk to lawyer talk.


My question is who knows what happened? All the witnesses are dead. The pilot could have been wary of flying and been told by Kobe to go up. We will never know.
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stl07
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:07 pm

Iloveboeing wrote:
When one of my grandfathers was hit by a vehicle on the side of the road while fixing a tire, my grandmother's relatives were encouraging her to sue the man who hit him. She said that there was no point in doing so; she said, "it' won't bring him back." The man who hit my grandfather was torn to pieces inside and regretted it from then onward.

Suing over death does not bring peace, comfort or anything else. Money is a temporary thing and I know it says in a certain book I know, "the love of money is the root of all evil."

:checkmark: :checkmark: :checkmark:

Our extended family has been apart of 3 of these types of accidents over time. The only time we sued was when the driver took off as my grandfather broke many of his bones instead of stopping to help like a normal human.
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spinotter
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:09 pm

NIKV69 wrote:
ptmac wrote:
As GF says, where is the proof of negligence? This will be a difficult lawsuit to prove. In the meantime, it gives pause for thought about our own liability, which is good.

We really don't know what conditions he was in, or whether he ever lost sight of the ground. Certainly not what initiated the turn and descent. It will be interesting litigation.

We're moving from pilot talk to lawyer talk.


My question is who knows what happened? All the witnesses are dead. The pilot could have been wary of flying and been told by Kobe to go up. We will never know.


Your comment makes me wonder whether the helicopter in question was equipped with voice and instrument recording. It makes sense to me that an aircraft like a helicopter should have these devices, their cost being only a small fraction of the aircraft cost.
 
RDUDDJI
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:12 pm

SocalApproach wrote:
One of those cases where its not really about the plaintiff needing money or wanting it. I dont necessarily say I agree but Its more about doing whatever they (Vanessa) can do to make the other party feel as much pain as her and her family are going through and money is the only lawful and logical way to go about it.


I've experienced the loss of a spouse and I can tell you, none of that (making others feel your pain) matters. If anything, I feel the opposite now. I have a lot more empathy for others. The grieving process is a different journey for everyone.
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
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enilria
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:32 pm

zeke wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
But, wasn't the chopter and/or the operator NOT allowed to fly in foggy situation? Wasn't there other issues (minor) with the pilot.


The operator was VFR only Part 135, however Part 135 VFR helicopter only requires 1/2 sm visibility. The conditions were still legal for VFR, hence the reason the fire helicopter was first responder on scene.

enilria wrote:
If you look at where he was from the recreated video on youtube, there was nowhere to land except the highway when the clouds closed in.


There were two helicopter pads as well as other open areas they could have landed right near the crash site.

You need to watch the video and be aware of the reported ceiling. He couldn't see those as he was in the clouds. When he could see there was only the highway in the valley. The high way was sloping upward into the hill. At the top of the hill he had to go into the clouds or risk power lines. His next plan was to ascend over the clouds, but he stopped right before popping out probably because of altitude clearance and then he got disoriented and crashed.
 
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zeke
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:35 pm

have you ever heard the term vertical visibility ?
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
ltbewr
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:35 pm

I have and still work in a support job in litigation law for over 40 years. I can understand the filing of this lawsuit by Ms Bryant. She lost her husband and a child in this crash. The operator of the helicopter is liable by operating it in poor viability conditions and without the qualifications or equipment to do so. Likely there won't be much to try to recover in terms of money, perhaps only the full limits of the helicopter's owners liability insurance (maybe $1-5 million), but this isn't about money, likely Ms. Bryant is the beneficiary of millions in life insurance and a wealthy estate, it is about liability, perhaps revenge sadly and to discourage a future such disaster happening to a family.
 
bhill
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:55 pm

ltbewr wrote:
I have and still work in a support job in litigation law for over 40 years. I can understand the filing of this lawsuit by Ms Bryant. She lost her husband and a child in this crash. The operator of the helicopter is liable by operating it in poor viability conditions and without the qualifications or equipment to do so. Likely there won't be much to try to recover in terms of money, perhaps only the full limits of the helicopter's owners liability insurance (maybe $1-5 million), but this isn't about money, likely Ms. Bryant is the beneficiary of millions in life insurance and a wealthy estate, it is about liability, perhaps revenge sadly and to discourage a future such disaster happening to a family.



THIS...AKA "Don't Do Stupid Shit".....as for suing in general...insurance is to fix the OTHER guy. IF Kobe was not the wealthy man he was, and had a young family, mortgage, etc...that is for the survivors.
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Aesma
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:11 pm

From my understanding it's not that easy to find an operator that would be IFR competent, as you need real IFR time regularly to actually be competent, and there isn't much IFR weather in LA for that.

I agree that there should have been two pilots.

spinotter wrote:
Your comment makes me wonder whether the helicopter in question was equipped with voice and instrument recording. It makes sense to me that an aircraft like a helicopter should have these devices, their cost being only a small fraction of the aircraft cost.


There was a recorder but it had been removed, as it isn't required.
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ptmac
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:21 pm

NIKV69 wrote:
ptmac wrote:
As GF says, where is the proof of negligence? This will be a difficult lawsuit to prove. In the meantime, it gives pause for thought about our own liability, which is good.

We really don't know what conditions he was in, or whether he ever lost sight of the ground. Certainly not what initiated the turn and descent. It will be interesting litigation.

We're moving from pilot talk to lawyer talk.


My question is who knows what happened? All the witnesses are dead. The pilot could have been wary of flying and been told by Kobe to go up. We will never know.


Yes, that type of discussion was my purpose in starting this thread. Not to rehash the other very good thread when experienced pilots gave their theories. A theory doesn't win a lawsuit. But, if there is any evidence that Kobe was given to pushing a pilot, that can go to defeating damages for his people. Not the others. I'm assuming they will join the action as plaintiffs.
 
NIKV69
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:39 am

spinotter wrote:
NIKV69 wrote:
ptmac wrote:
As GF says, where is the proof of negligence? This will be a difficult lawsuit to prove. In the meantime, it gives pause for thought about our own liability, which is good.

We really don't know what conditions he was in, or whether he ever lost sight of the ground. Certainly not what initiated the turn and descent. It will be interesting litigation.

We're moving from pilot talk to lawyer talk.


My question is who knows what happened? All the witnesses are dead. The pilot could have been wary of flying and been told by Kobe to go up. We will never know.


Your comment makes me wonder whether the helicopter in question was equipped with voice and instrument recording. It makes sense to me that an aircraft like a helicopter should have these devices, their cost being only a small fraction of the aircraft cost.


It wasn't. After another famous helo crash the FAA recommended they have CVR and FDR but did not make it mandatory. Even so this convo would have taken place outside the aircraft.
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JoannaLee
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:07 am

The main cause of the accident was the unprofessional pilots.
In those complicated weather conditions, he should make a return home decision early.
 
ptmac
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:09 am

NIKV69 wrote:
spinotter wrote:
NIKV69 wrote:

My question is who knows what happened? All the witnesses are dead. The pilot could have been wary of flying and been told by Kobe to go up. We will never know.


Your comment makes me wonder whether the helicopter in question was equipped with voice and instrument recording. It makes sense to me that an aircraft like a helicopter should have these devices, their cost being only a small fraction of the aircraft cost.


It wasn't. After another famous helo crash the FAA recommended they have CVR and FDR but did not make it mandatory. Even so this convo would have taken place outside the aircraft.


Which means there could be a witness.
 
Cadet985
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:47 am

The helicopter should have never taken off in the weather conditions that were reported.

Fact: the LAPD had their helicopters GROUNDED that day because of the weather.

Not to speak ill of the dead, but I’m going to guess that the pilot either overestimated his abilities, or did not look at the METAR.

When the news of the crash broke and I saw the first video of the flames, I pulled up METARs for the Los Angeles area. I wish I had screenshotted them, but the ceiling was very low, and I have to believe that’s what caused the crash.

Marc
 
ptmac
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:08 am

But from a litigation perspective, the helicopter did take off, proceeded northbound in contact with ATC, who knew what the weather was, got a special VFR clearance through two control zones, all of which was legal. It has been stated many times in the other thread that the police operate under different constraints than civilian operators. We have the RCMP with helicopters up here. They sit on the ground a lot as well. Some other officers say their motto is "If there's a cloud in the sky, we don't fly".

It's the insurance companies that handle the litigation, not the actual parties, so the pilot and the operator will have the best of counsel. And experts like there are on here. Some of those experts will say that it doesn't make sense that an experienced pilot in that class of machine would lose it through spatial disorientation. Some people have said that here. They know what they're talking about. Others have said spatial disorientation. They know what they're talking about. Both kinds of people will be at the trial, if there is one.
 
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spinotter
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:32 pm

ptmac wrote:
But from a litigation perspective, the helicopter did take off, proceeded northbound in contact with ATC, who knew what the weather was, got a special VFR clearance through two control zones, all of which was legal. It has been stated many times in the other thread that the police operate under different constraints than civilian operators. We have the RCMP with helicopters up here. They sit on the ground a lot as well. Some other officers say their motto is "If there's a cloud in the sky, we don't fly".

It's the insurance companies that handle the litigation, not the actual parties, so the pilot and the operator will have the best of counsel. And experts like there are on here. Some of those experts will say that it doesn't make sense that an experienced pilot in that class of machine would lose it through spatial disorientation. Some people have said that here. They know what they're talking about. Others have said spatial disorientation. They know what they're talking about. Both kinds of people will be at the trial, if there is one.


I find it ridiculous that there may be a trial. Kobe himself ordered the trip. If he had an unexperienced pilot, it was his fault and no one else's.
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:51 pm

ptmac wrote:
But from a litigation perspective, the helicopter did take off, proceeded northbound in contact with ATC, who knew what the weather was, got a special VFR clearance through two control zones, all of which was legal.


Legal doesn't mean smart.

This would be a civil trial, not a criminal one. You can be found liable for something without being convicted of a crime for it (see: O.J. Simpson).

spinotter wrote:
I find it ridiculous that there may be a trial. Kobe himself ordered the trip. If he had an unexperienced pilot, it was his fault and no one else's.


I don't think that's a reasonable standard to hold everyone to. One cannot be an expert in everything, therefore one relies on others who supposedly are experts in a particular field.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
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CitizenJustin
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:57 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Suing, I’m shocked, shocked. She is certainly well financed. Shouldn’t there be an “assumption of risk” at some level? Until, the NTSB report is out, where’s proof of negligence? If there’s no violation of regulation or willful disregard of the FAR, can’t it just be an accident? S**t Happens to Good People and Bad.


I agree. People want the risk taken out of everything which is impossible. Everything involves risk and sometimes, like you said, s***t happens. We can’t sue every time life gets ugly.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:58 pm

Cadet985 wrote:
The helicopter should have never taken off in the weather conditions that were reported.

Fact: the LAPD had their helicopters GROUNDED that day because of the weather.

Not to speak ill of the dead, but I’m going to guess that the pilot either overestimated his abilities, or did not look at the METAR.

When the news of the crash broke and I saw the first video of the flames, I pulled up METARs for the Los Angeles area. I wish I had screenshotted them, but the ceiling was very low, and I have to believe that’s what caused the crash.

Marc


What the Sheriff’s Dept does means exactly zero—the flight departed and until the last 2 or 3 miles operated, as far as can be seen with public data, completely legally and had been the case for multiple operators THAT day. The weather reported by the two airports he actually flew by was legal.
 
ptmac
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Re: Kobe Bryant's Widow Sues Over Crash

Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:47 am

vikkyvik wrote:
ptmac wrote:
But from a litigation perspective, the helicopter did take off, proceeded northbound in contact with ATC, who knew what the weather was, got a special VFR clearance through two control zones, all of which was legal.


Legal doesn't mean smart.

This would be a civil trial, not a criminal one. You can be found liable for something without being convicted of a crime for it (see: O.J. Simpson).

spinotter wrote:
I find it ridiculous that there may be a trial. Kobe himself ordered the trip. If he had an unexperienced pilot, it was his fault and no one else's.


I don't think that's a reasonable standard to hold everyone to. One cannot be an expert in everything, therefore one relies on others who supposedly are experts in a particular field.


Not wanting to get into endless debate, but a) yes, the standard of proof in a civil trial is on a balance of probabilities. That is correct. But that doesn't mean no proof will get you by. The other side of the coin is, and this goes to b, people were killed, in the operators aircraft, and in the absence of actually knowing what happened, or proof of something out of the operators control (design, metallurgy flaws, etc.) the operator may be held liable.

If Kobe knew of some safety issue, and that issue is eventually shown to be an issue in the accident, and he booked anyway, then the other victims may have an action against him. You are right that passengers on a commercial aircraft can rely on the FAA to ensure that the operation is safe. You don't have to send a private detective out before every flight.

If there is a trial, the issue of when the practice was, and if there was some urgency in someone's mind, will surely be brought up.

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