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Plane overshoots Jamaica runway; more than 40 hurt

KINGSTON, Jamaica – An American Airlines flight carrying 154 people skidded across a Jamaican runway in heavy rain, bouncing across the tarmac and injuring more than 40 people before it stopped just short of the Caribbean Sea, officials and witnesses said.

Jamaica Flight Overshoots Runway

Workers sift through debris surrounding the fuselage of American Airlines flight AA331 which crash landed overnight on a flight from Miami to Jamaica, just beyond the runway of Norman Manley International Airport, in Kingston Jamaica, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009. More than 40 people were injured, at least 4 seriously, and there were no fatalities, according to officials, after the plane overshot the runway in Jamaica when it landed in heavy rain

Panicked passengers screamed and baggage burst from overhead bins as Flight 331 from Miami careened down the runway in the capital, Kingston, on Tuesday night, one passenger said.

The impact cracked the fuselage, crushed the left landing gear and separated both engines from the Boeing 737-800, airline spokesman Tim Smith said.

Crews evacuated dazed and bloodied passengers onto a beach from a cabin that smelled of smoke and jet fuel, passengers said. Rain poured through the plane’s broken roof, one said.

Some 44 people were taken to hospitals with broken bones and back pains and four were seriously hurt, airport and Jamaican government officials said. American Airlines said two people were admitted to the hospital and nobody suffered life-threatening injuries.

Heavy turbulence on the way to Jamaica had forced the crew to halt the beverage service three times before giving up, Pilar Abaurrea of Keene, New Hampshire, told The Associated Press by phone. The pilot warned of more turbulence just before landing but said it likely wouldn’t be much worse, she said.

“All of a sudden, when it hit the ground, the plane was kind of bouncing. Someone said the plane was skidding and there was panic,” she said.

U.S. investigators will analyze whether the plane should have been landing in such bad weather, Smith said, adding that other planes had landed safely in the heavy rain.

Passenger Natalie Morales Hendricks told NBC’s “Today” that the plane began to skid upon landing and “before I knew it, everything was black and we were crashing.”

“Everybody’s overhead baggage started to fall. Literally, it was like being in a car accident. People were screaming, I was screaming,” she said.

“There was smoke and debris everywhere,” after the plane halted, she said. “It was a mess. Everybody could smell jet fuel.”

Passenger Robert Mais told The Gleaner newspaper of Jamaica that he had heard the engine’s reverse throttle but that the plane didn’t seem to slow as it skittered down the runway.

The plane came to a halt about 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) from the Caribbean Sea and passengers walked along the beach to be picked up by a bus, Mais said. Rain came through the roof of the darkened jet and baggage from the overhead compartments was strewn about the cabin, he said.

The plane originated at Reagan National Airport in Washington and took off from Miami International Airport at 8:52 p.m. and arrived in Kingston at 10:22 p.m. It was carrying 148 passengers and a crew of six, American said. The majority of those aboard were Jamaicans coming home for Christmas, Jamaican Information Minister Daryl Vaz said.

Smith said there were two “significant” cracks in the fuselage, and the engines are designed to separate from the wings during an accident as a safety measure.

A team of six investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board was traveling to Jamaica from Washington on Wednesday morning to assist a probe led by the island’s government, agency spokesman Keith Holloway said.

The airport reopened early Wednesday after officials had delayed flights because of concerns that the plane’s tail might be hindering visibility.

Four hundred passengers waited for their flights to be cleared for takeoff, Security Minister Dwight Nelson told Radio Jamaica.

Heavy rains that have pelted Jamaica’s eastern region for four days are expected to dissipate by Thursday. Authorities said the rains washed away a 7-year-old girl on Tuesday and led to a bus crash in which two people died.

By KIRK WRIGHT, Associated Press

Associated Press Writers Danica Coto and Ben Fox in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Howard Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica; Carol Druga in Atlanta, Georgia; and Sofia Mannos in Washington contributed to this report.

The Legacy of Flight 4184

(CHICAGO) (WLS) — Saturday marks 15 years since the crash of American Eagle Flight 4184 near Roselawn, Indiana.

The disaster claimed 68 lives and changed the aviation landscape.

In the aftermath of 4184, we learned a great deal about the science of freezing rain and an entire fleet of aircraft not well suited to fly in it. We learned about warnings that went unheeded, and air traffic control procedures that would forever change. That was the technical stuff. Now we look back at the human factor.

On a quiet county road just south of Roselawn stand 68 crosses. Each bears the name of a life lost when Flight 4184 crashed into a soybean field a stone’s throw away.

The Super ATR aircraft had been in a holding pattern for O’Hare. The pilots were unaware of a deadly ice build-up that would cause the plane to roll and plunge to earth. There was little left of the plane and passengers.

Victims’ relatives- deep in grief and hungry for information could get little – from the airline or the government.

“Flight 4184 exemplified not only the tragic nature, but the utter confusion that existed during that time period,” said Don Nolan, aviation law attorney.

The pilot’s wife waited days for her husband’s employer just to call her. Airline care teams visited victims’ families and asked about their dead relatives medical histories.

Some of the unidentifiable human remains were laid to rest in a nearby cemetery. The airline conducted a service, but didn’t tell the families.

“I was angry, I was upset,” said Terri Severin.

Terri Severin lost her sister and her four year old nephew – the only child on the flight. Four months after the crash, Terri summoned the courage to go to the site. She was numbed by what she found.

“I actually walked away with bags full of plane wreckage, personal effects and human remains that were still just scattered at the site,” said Severin.

Those discoveries – plane parts, body parts four months later – became, for the relatives, the ultimate indignity.

“There were unspeakable things that occurred,” said Jim Hall.

Fifteen years ago, Hall was the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB’s singular mission then was to find out what went wrong, and to make recommendations so it doesn’t happen again. But the families? That’s for somebody else.

“I was told this isn’t your business, and I said, ‘well my goodness. If I’m being paid by the taxpayers and we’re the agency that responds to these tragedies, it has to be our business,'” said Hall.

Hall wanted change. The families of 4184 demanded it, and in concert with families from other airline crashes, they pushed for it.

Two years later, the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act was signed into law.

Today when there is a disaster, the NTSB immediately takes the lead in dealing with the needs of families from information to crash site access.

“Today, the airlines are obligated to have a disaster plan in place. Those types of plans didn’t exist 15 years ago,” said Hall.

There are now protocols for airline employee training, grief counseling, the handling of remains and the return of personal effects.

“I am still healing and it will probably be a life long journey,” said Severin.

Terry Severin has written a book and lectures on what happened after 4184. She says she learned long ago that corporations and government are not fail-safe resources in the wake of disaster.

“But I have learned that the average citizen can make a difference in turning a negative response into a positive outcome,” said Severin.

This Saturday, Terri and other 4184 relatives will return to the memorial, as they do every year, to remember, to celebrate 68 lives and, perhaps, to contemplate what’s changed since that tragic miserable night 15 years ago in a bean field just outside Roselawn, Indiana.

The NTSB’s family response model is now used internationally. But responses to disaster will always be imperfect.

Terri Severin one day opened a letter saying that the airline had some unclaimed personal effects from 4184. It turned out that a couple of her nephew’s toys were among them. Terri received that letter eight years after the crash.

For more information on Severin’s book, visit www.inthewakeofthestorm.com.

By Paul Meincke

Yasmin/Yaz and Increased Risk Of Gallbladder Injuries

While it is now well-known that the birth control pills Yasmin, Yaz, and Ocella are assocated with increased risk of blood clots, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (“DVT”), heart attack, and stroke, recent reports indicate that these birth control pills may also be connected to gallbladder problems as well.

Yaz and Yasmin contain drospirenone, a diuretic that can drastically increase a woman’s potassium levels. This condition is known as hyperkalemia. Increased potassium levels can lead to both blood clots and gallbladder damage.

Recent data suggests a spike in gallbladder disease and the presence of gallstones among otherwise healthy women. The only connection appears to be that these women are all taking one of these drospirenone-containing birth control medications.

Gallstones are formed by a concentration of bile constituents. While the cause of gallstones varies, some stones form when there is too much cholesterol or bilirubin in the bile. (Bile is a liquid that helps the body digest fats.) Other stones form if there are not enough bile salts or if the gallbladder fails to empty properly.

It is believed that Yaz can increase cholesterol levels in bile while simultaneously decreasing gallbladder movement, leading to gallstones.

Recent reports of injuries ranging from chronic gallstones to gallbladder removal surgery are coming from all across the country. In cases of gallbladder removal, a procedure known as a cholecystectomy, the victim can suffer from impaired digestion, bloating, gas, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea. In addition, many of those who undergo gallbladder removal surgery must make drastic changes to their diet and eating habits.

Symptoms that may occur include:

  • Abdominal pain in the right upper or middle upper abdomen:
  • May be recurrent
  • May be sharp, cramping, or dull
  • May spread to the back or below the right shoulder blade
  • May be made worse by fatty or greasy foods
  • Occurs within minutes of a meal
  • Fever
  • Yellowing of skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)

 

Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease include:

  • Abdominal fullness
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Excess gas
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you, or someone you love, experienced any of these symptoms after taking Yasmin, YAZ or Ocella and would like the attorneys at Nolan Law Group to review your case, please contact us.

Eye on Litigation

YAZ lawsuits are increasing throughout the country.  As of recently, a total of 32 federal lawsuits have been filed throughout the United States on behalf of YAZ victims.  These suits state claims sounding in strict liability, negligence, and failure to warn.   

On July 24, 2009, lawyers representing YAZ victims filed a petition with the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation seeking consolidation and centralization of all federal Yasmin and YAZ suits in front of Judge Carr in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.  Consolidating all of the cases in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) would bring all individual cases in front of one judge for pretrial purposes, such as discovery, depositions, and settlement discussions.  Utilizing an MDL promotes efficiency and consistency—rather than having many individual cases throughout the country, each and every case is grouped in front of a single court prior to trial.  The Panel will hold a hearing on September 24, 2009 to determine if consolidation in the MDL is appropriate.

The suits are against Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation and other Bayer related companies—companies responsible for the manufacturing of Yasmin and YAZ products. 

Bayer is a global medical conglomerate which has reported sales in the billions of dollars since the launch of Yasmin and YAZ in the birth control market in 2001.  This birth control has been reported as one of the highest earning drugs manufactured by Bayer in recent years.  In 2008, Bayer made more than $600 million dollars from it! 

Despite the growing numbers of lawsuits against it, Bayer is still raking in huge profits from women who use YAZ and Yasmin.  It recently published its 2009 Second Quarter Financial Report labeling the group of YAZ contraceptives to be its best selling pharmaceutical line with an increase of 4.1% since last quarter.  Its combined sales from these drugs amounted to an astonishing $915 million for just the first half of 2009!  Showing just how large of a company Bayer is, these YAZ products account for about 12.32% of all of Bayer’s pharmaceutical sales during this second quarter of 2009. 

Interestingly, Bayer’s report mentions another type of progestin that may be used in its drugs.  In October 2008, Bayer announced European approval for the launch of a new oral contraceptive using yet another new synthetic progestin called Dienogest.  In its release, Bayer states “For the first time, the use of estradiol in oral contraceptives is made possible with Qlaira® through the combination of estradiol with the progestin dienogest in a unique dosing regimen.”  The product is currently unavailable in the United States; it is only available in certain European countries, including Germany.  However, Bayer states that “further launches are planned for the fall of 2009.”  This will be an interesting development if the drug is approved for use in the United States.   

Two recent articles published in the British Medical Journal confirm the dangerous risks posed by YAZ and Yasmin.  One of those studies assesses the thrombotic risk associated with the oral contraceptive and the other likewise assesses the increased risk of venous thrombosis in women using these contraceptives. 

If you, or someone you love, have experienced birth control side effects from using Yasmin, YAZ or Ocella, and would like the attorneys at Nolan Law Group to review your case, please contact us.

Eye on YAZ Litigation

YAZ lawsuits are increasing throughout the country. As of recently, a total of 32 federal lawsuits have been filed throughout the United States on behalf of YAZ victims. These suits state claims sounding in strict liability, negligence, and failure to warn.

On July 24, 2009, lawyers representing YAZ victims filed a petition with the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation seeking consolidation and centralization of all federal Yasmin and YAZ suits in front of Judge Carr in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Consolidating all of the cases in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) would bring all individual cases in front of one judge for pretrial purposes, such as discovery, depositions, and settlement discussions. Utilizing an MDL promotes efficiency and consistency—rather than having many individual cases throughout the country, each and every case is grouped in front of a single court prior to trial. The Panel will hold a hearing on September 24, 2009 to determine if consolidation in the MDL is appropriate.

The suits are against Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corporation and other Bayer related companies—companies responsible for the manufacturing of Yasmin and YAZ products.

Bayer is a global medical conglomerate which has reported sales in the billions of dollars since the launch of Yasmin and YAZ in the birth control market in 2001. This birth control has been reported as one of the highest earning drugs manufactured by Bayer in recent years. In 2008, Bayer made more than $600 million dollars from it!

Despite the growing numbers of lawsuits against it, Bayer is still raking in huge profits from women who use YAZ and Yasmin. It recently published its 2009 Second Quarter Financial Report labeling the group of YAZ contraceptives to be its best selling pharmaceutical line with an increase of 4.1% since last quarter. Its combined sales from these drugs amounted to an astonishing $915 million for just the first half of 2009! Showing just how large of a company Bayer is, these YAZ products account for about 12.32% of all of Bayer’s pharmaceutical sales during this second quarter of 2009.

Interestingly, Bayer’s report mentions another type of progestin that may be used in its drugs. In October 2008, Bayer announced European approval for the launch of a new oral contraceptive using yet another new synthetic progestin called Dienogest. In its release, Bayer states “For the first time, the use of estradiol in oral contraceptives is made possible with Qlaira® through the combination of estradiol with the progestin dienogest in a unique dosing regimen.” The product is currently unavailable in the United States; it is only available in certain European countries, including Germany. However, Bayer states that “further launches are planned for the fall of 2009.” This will be an interesting development if the drug is approved for use in the United States.

Two recent articles published in the British Medical Journal confirm the dangerous risks posed by YAZ and Yasmin. One of those studies assesses the thrombotic risk associated with the oral contraceptive and the other likewise assesses the increased risk of venous thrombosis in women using these contraceptives.

If you, or someone you love, have experienced birth control side effects from using Yasmin, YAZ or Ocella, and would like the attorneys at Nolan Law Group to review your case, please contact us.

What Makes It Different and the FDA’s Involvement

The popular birth control, Yaz and Yasmin (generically known as Ocella), differ from other oral contraceptives in that they contain a unique progestin component known as drospirenone. Drospirenone, only recently approved for use in the drug in 2001, is not used in any other birth control pill approved in the United States.

Drospirenone creates a risk of increased potassium levels which can lead to hyperkalemia—a condition that, in many people, disrupts normal heart rhythms. Disrupting normal heart rhythms can be fatal: disruption can slow the blood flow through the heart to the point that blood clots form. Blood clots in the heart can lead to heart attack or can travel to other parts of the body—such as the lungs or the brain—thus causing pulmonary emboli or strokes. Therefore, because the birth control pill contains drospirenone, Yaz and Yasmin pose new and additional risks to young women who use oral contraceptives.

The risks associated with this popular birth control pill are severe; many women who took Yaz or Yasmin have died or been seriously injured because of the serious health risks associated with the drug. In fact, the FDA received over fifty reports of Yaz and Yasmin-related deaths between 2004 and 2008, most involving increased levels of potassium and occurring in women as young as 17 years old. Imagine how many went unreported! A growing number of lawsuits have been filed by or on behalf of these women, charging the drug manufacturer with inadequately warning them of the increased risks Yaz and Yasmin pose to those women who use the oral contraceptive.

While the public-at-large and many physicians may not recognize an adverse reaction to drospirenone, the health risks have been known for longer than many realize. In 2002, the British Medical Journal reported some practitioners’ concern about the drug as a result of 40 cases of venous thrombosis among women taking it. Also, in 2003, the Journal published a paper that detailed reports of thromboembolism deaths and injuries thought to be caused by Yaz and Yasmin.

The FDA has been reprimanding Yaz and Yasmin manufacturers for misleading and inadequate television advertising for the drug for quite some time.

In one warning letter to the pill manufacturer, the FDA stated that the 2003 Yaz and Yasmin commercial entitled “Goodbye Kiss” was misleading to consumers. The ad implied to consumers that the drug was clinically superior to other oral contraceptives. The FDA stated that it was unaware of any evidence demonstrating that the drug was superior to other oral contraceptives or that drospirenone was clinically beneficial. More correctly, the FDA was only aware of the added clinical risks associated with Yasmin and Yaz. Second, while the ad noted drospirenone’s tendency to increase potassium, that effect was portrayed as a benefit of the drug rather than its true nature as a significant health risk. The FDA stated “by failing to add the necessary context to clarify that increased blood potassium is a safety risk rather than a clinical benefit, the ad misleadingly represents or suggests that Yasmin is safer than has been demonstrated by substantial evidence or substantial clinical experience.” As a result of the FDA’s 2003 warning letter, the drug manufacturer was ordered to immediately discontinue the television ads and all other similar promotions.

Since then, new commercials for the popular birth control have aired, but not without further FDA involvement. Last October, the FDA again admonished Yaz and Yasmin manufacturers for television advertising for the drug, finding that the ads, again, misled consumers. This time, two separate ads were found to be misleading in violation of numerous regulations because they “encourage[d] use of YAZ in circumstances other than those in which the drug has been approved, over-promise the benefits and minimize the risks associated with YAZ.” The ads broadened the indications of the drug by implying that it treated not only symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) but also symptoms of PMS, a less serious condition. This was problematic considering the fact that the drug had never been evaluated for treatment of PMS. The most startling aspect of these commercials is the downplaying of the risks involved with taking Yaz and Yasmin: There were distracting visuals, numerous scene changes, and background music playing as the serious health risks were being communicated. The FDA stated “The overall effect of the distracting visuals, graphics, concurrent supers and background music is to undermine the communication of important risk information, minimizing these risks and misleadingly suggesting that YAZ is safer than has been demonstrated by substantial evidence or substantial clinical experience.” As a result of this warning letter, the FDA required Bayer, the Yaz and Yasmin manufacturer, to cease running these ads and any similar misleading promotions. Bayer was also required to run correction ads, an uncharacteristic move for the FDA. The new corrective ad is meant to clear up the misconceptions conveyed in Yaz’s previous advertising campaigns. Correcting these misleading ads cost Bayer upwards of $20 million and will hopefully curtail further misleading information about this popular birth control pill.

Discouraging Bayer from running misleading ads may not, however, be as easy as originally thought. Bayer has received yet another warning from the FDA, this time for its sponsored links on internet search engines. The FDA found the Yaz sponsored link to violate various regulations because it omitted risk information associated with the use of the drug, overstated its indications, and did not use the full established name of the drug being promoted. Promotional materials are required to disclose risk and other information about the drug but the sponsored link for Yaz merely states “YAZ Prevents Pregnancy, May Help Moderate Acne and PMDD” and provides a link to the Yaz website. Such a listing is misleading because it fails to mention any risk information, thus implying the drug is safer than it has been shown to be.

If you, or someone you love, have experienced birth control side effects from using Yasmin, YAZ or Ocella, and would like the attorneys at Nolan Law Group to review your case, please contact us.

El Tribunal De Apelación De Illinois Confirma La Solicitud De Declinatoria Del Tribunal De Primera Instancia En Relación Con El Accidente Aéreo De Tans Perú De 2005

CHICAGO, Illinois (15 de junio de 2009) – El día de hoy el Tribunal de Apelación de Illinois, Primer Distrito, ratificó una Orden dictada por el H. Juez William D. Maddux el pasado 5 de septiembre, la cual rechazó las solicitudes de declinatoria del demandado para desestimar los casos sobre la base de jurisdicción inadecuada.Las demandas originales fueron entabladas por Nolan Law Group en el Tribunal de Primera Instancia del Condado de Cook, Illinois, en representación del patrimonio de ciertos pasajeros que fueron víctimas de homicidio culposo, en contra de The Boeing Company y United Technologies Corporation, como resultado del accidente ocurrido el 23 de agosto de 2005 en el que un Boeing 737-200 operado por Transportes Aéreos Nacional de Selva (TANS) se estrelló en la selva a aproximadamente 5.5 km al sur del Aeropuerto de Pucallpa.

La aeronave transportaba a 98 pasajeros, de los cuales 40 perecieron y muchos otros resultaron gravemente heridos, lo que lo convirtió en uno de los peores desastres en la historia de la aviación peruana.

En respuesta a la apelación de la orden del H. Juez Maddux presentada por los demandados, el 29 de mayo de 2009 Nolan Law Group presentó alegatos y réplicas escritas al tribunal de apelación, que describían la incapacidad de los demandados para respaldar adecuadamente su argumento de que el Tribunal de Illinois era un foro inadecuado.

Durante los procedimientos, los abogados de Nolan Law Group adoptaron la posición de que los demandados no lograron demostrar circunstancias excepcionales que favorecieran la transferencia o sobreseimiento de los casos y que, debido a que la decisión de admitir o rechazar la solicitud de sobreseimiento basado en una jurisdicción inadecuada es a discreción del tribunal de primera instancia, un tribunal revisor tendría que confirmar dicha decisión, a menos que se demostrara un abuso de facultades discrecionales.

“Sin un abuso de facultades discrecionales, un desacuerdo entre las opiniones de los jueces no es comparable a demostrar la existencia de circunstancias excepcionales”, señaló Donald J. Nolan, abogado de Nolan Law Group.

Nolan Law Group argumentó que era correcto el equilibrio de factores en los intereses públicos y privados del tribunal de primera instancia para rechazar la solicitud de sobreseimiento de los demandados, y que no existía un abuso de facultades discrecionales. Asimismo, reiteró su argumento de que el contexto de responsabilidad derivada del producto requería tomar en cuenta todos los aspectos de la solicitud de jurisdicción inadecuada de los demandados.

Además, Nolan Law Group demostró por qué Perú no es un foro “disponible” para volver a presentar los casos señalando que ciertos principios jurisdiccionales existentes en países sudamericanos están en conflicto directo con la jurisprudencia de jurisdicción inadecuada de los Estados Unidos, incluyendo la aplicación inflexible del Código Bustamante.

Nolan Law Grup representa actualmente a clientes que han entablado demandas por homicidio culposo en contra de Boeing y United Technologies Corporation como resultado del accidente del 23 de agosto de 2005, y esta resolución favorable le permite proceder con los casos en su contra en el Tribunal de Primera Instancia del Condado de Cook, Illinois.

In English | En Espanól

Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Lower Court’s Denial Of Forum Non Conveniens Motion Arising Out Of The 2005 Tans Peru Plane Crash

CHICAGO, Illinois (June 15, 2009) – Today the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District affirmed a September 5, 2008 Order issued by Judge William D. Maddux which denied defendant’s motions to dismiss cases on the grounds of forum non conveniens.

The original lawsuits were filed by Nolan Law Group in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, on behalf of certain passenger’s estates who have filed wrongful death and survival actions against The Boeing Company and United Technologies Corporation as a result of the August 23, 2005 crash where a Boeing 737-200 operated by Transportes Aereos Nacional de Selva (TANS) crashed in the jungle about 5.5 km south of Pucallpa Airport.

The aircraft was carrying 98 passengers, of which 40 were killed and many others were seriously injured, making it one of the worst aviation disasters in Peruvian history.

On May 29, 2009 in response to the defendants’ appeal of Judge Maddux’s ruling, Nolan Law Group presented written and oral arguments to the appellate court which outlined the defendants’ failure to provide adequate support for their contention that the Illinois Court is an inconvenient forum.

During the proceedings, Nolan Law Group attorneys took the position that defendants failed to demonstrate exceptional circumstances favoring the transfer or dismissal of the cases and that since the decision to grant or deny a motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens lies within the discretion of the trial court, a reviewing court would have to uphold the trial court’s decision unless abuse of discretion was demonstrated.

“Without an abuse of discretion, a disagreement between judges’ opinions is not tantamount to showing exceptional circumstances” said Nolan Law Group attorney Donald J. Nolan.

Nolan Law Group argued that the trial court’s balance of private and public interest factors to deny defendants’ motion to dismiss was correct and that there was no abuse of discretion. Nolan Law Group also reiterated its argument that the products liability context of the case guided consideration of all aspects of defendants’ forum non conveniens motion.

Additionally, Nolan Law Group demonstrated why Peru is not an “available” forum for re-filing the cases, citing that certain existing jurisdictional principals in South American countries are in direct conflict with American forum non conveniens jurisprudence, including Peru’s steadfast application of the Bustamente code.

Currently, Nolan Law Group represents clients who have filed wrongful death and survival actions against Boeing and United Technologies Corporation stemming from the August 23, 2005 accident. This favorable ruling allows Nolan Law Group to proceed with its cases against Boeing and United Technologies in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

In English | En Espanól

Jerome Skinner: System should be tweaked to further empower families

Continental Flight 3407, just like every aviation disaster, is a terrible tragedy for all who lost loved ones and for the Buffalo community in general. And like other air disasters, including the US Air Flight 427 crash near Pittsburgh and the Pan American Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland – it has given the families affected an opportunity to change the system and make family information and input much more important than it previously was.

It was out of the Pan Am 103 disaster that families became more aggressive in formally organizing and seeking involvement in post-accident investigative and fact-sharing activities. It was the long causal uncertainty of the investigation of Flight 427 that stirred the families to lobby for the Family Assistance Office concept put in place by the National Transportation Safety Board after the accident.

My law partner, Jim Hall, was chairman of the NTSB at the time and is thought of as the “father” of the Family Assistance Act. He believes that the office should consistently update the families and provide them with as much assistance as possible in understanding the investigative process.

This is the ideal. In reality it does not always function this way. I have worked in aviation litigation for almost 30 years and I share his opinion. No matter what the differences from family to family or accident to accident, the families always want to know why and how. They also want a voice.

A Buffalo News article seemed to come to grips with the fringes of the argument by dealing with the extreme claims that the system is so flawed that it is “intellectually dishonest,” or that the system is perfect from the viewpoint of the aviation industry that it represents. Neither is true.

Hall and I have a more useful suggestion, and one that will take the considerable muscle of the Flight 3407 families to implement. The existing party system will not be replaced. There are not enough investigators, testing laboratories or dollars to eliminate industry participation and make the system a truly independent process.

But the Office of Family Assistance must be called upon to provide families with consistent and complete information as the investigation is ongoing. This is already supposed to happen, but it will not unless the families demand it. The families could also call for the designation of a technically educated liaison to provide them information.

With that technical person in place, all that is needed is to “tweak” the system to give the families an opportunity to give the board input, offer suggestions and ask questions before the investigation goes into its analysis phase.

If the families ask for full information, a technical head to talk to and an opportunity to speak through that person before the process closes, it will be a big step that benefits all and ultimately enhances aviation safety in the future.

Confidential Settlement Reached in Product Liability Lawsuit From Fatal Helicopter Crash Involving Petros VII Pope and Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church

On September 11, 2004, His Beatitude, Pope and Patriarch Petros VII, along with 16 others including his brother, clergy, lay members of the Orthodox Church, and the Greek Army crew perished when the helicopter they were aboard went out of control and crashed into the Aegean Sea approximately 15 nautical miles from the shoreline near Mt. Athos, Greece.

pope

The helicopter used for the flight was a CH-47D, commonly known as the “Chinook” which was manufactured in 2001 by The Boeing Company and sold to the Greek Army as part of a U.S. Foreign Military Sales Agreement valued at over 300 million dollars.

The fateful flight departed the Pachi Megaron Army Airfield west of Athens at approximately 9:30 a.m. for a routine flight to the holy monasteries at Mt. Athos on the Chalkidiki peninsula. However, at approximately 10:53 a.m. local time, after the pilot requested clearance to an altitude of 4,500 feet, things began to go tragically wrong. The last six radar points beginning at 10:54 a.m. (see below) indicate that rather than continuing in a north northeast heading toward Mt. Athos, the helicopter began to take a slight left turn. This heading change was then followed by a loss of the transponder signal and a steep left turn and a final high-speed plunge into the ocean.

The recovery process was hampered by the sea’s depth and weather. Nevertheless, investigation into the accident revealed several anomalies with the helicopter which including illuminated caution lights on the maintenance panel without illumination of corresponding lights on the Master Caution Panel, significant damage to the aft rotor droop stops, DC power present in the aft section of the helicopter but absent in the cockpit, damage to gear teeth in the aft rotor drive system, and an over current in the A11 circuit card of the automatic flight control system (AFCS). Additionally, switch positions in the cockpit indicated the pilots were trying to isolate a hydraulic problem.

The diagram depicts the last six radar points recorded for the helicopter. The last three are from ground based radar following failure of the helicopter’s

The diagram depicts the last six radar points recorded for the helicopter. The last three are from ground based radar following failure of the helicopter’s transponder

This was to be the first official trip by Petros VII to the holy monasteries at Mt. Athos. He, a new-calendarist ecumenist, was reportedly traveling to the Monastery of Vatopedi to celebrate that Monday the Feast of the Deposition of the Precious Sash of the Mother of God according to the Old Calendar.

Nolan Law Group’s helicopter accident attorneys represented the estates of Patriarch Petros VII, his brother, Georgios Papapetrou, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Carthage, and Hierodeacon Nektarios Kontogiorgis. The cases were settled during voluntary mediation conducted by Hon. Edward N. Cahn, retired Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Papapetrou v.The Boeing Company, et al., Case No. 07-cv-3768, E.D.Pa.