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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.

Air Phillipines $165 Million

The largest loss of life from an airline crash in Philippine history has led to an unprecedented settlement in Illinois that could change the way old airplanes are leased to developing nations. [Read More…]

Jim Hall: Aircraft icing needs harder look

Thursday’s crash of a de Havilland Dash 8 Q400 in Clarence was deeply saddening. Fifty persons were killed in the tragedy, and the 2z-year period of fatality- free flying in commercial aviation was brought abruptly to an end.More tragic, this crash was foreseeable and likely preventable, if not for the preference of profit over safety in some of the aviation industry and for the lax oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration in its failure to adequately address known safety risks related to icing.

Initial reports strongly indicate that airframe icing played a major role in the crash of this turboprop aircraft. This type of occurrence is not without precedent. On Oct. 31, 1994, American Eagle Flight 4184 dropped from the sky when ice accumulated on its wings. It crashed into a soybean field in Roselawn, Ind., killing all 68 people onboard. On Jan. 9, 1997, Comair flight 3272 dropped from the sky over Monroe, Mich. when ice accumulated on its wings, killing all 29 people on board.

Like Thursday’s crash, both of these planes were turboprop-an Avions de Transport Regional 72 and an Embraer 120, respectively. Both aircraft were equipped with pneumatic deicing boots, a technology invented in the 1930s that has not changed much since.

As chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, I oversaw the investigation into the Roselawn and Monroe crashes. It became apparent that, while deicing boots are more fuel efficient than the heated wing technology that larger jets use, they are not as effective at reducing the risk of an icing accident.

Furthermore, the FAA is charged with overseeing the certification process of each make and model of aircraft, yet we found in our investigation that the FAA failed to ensure that this certification adequately accounted for hazards that can result from all known icing conditions. After our extensive investigation at Roselawn concluded, I signed the NTSB’s recommendations to the FAA regarding these issues.

More than 10 years later, the FAA has not adequately addressed these concerns, and the NTSB has placed safe flight in icing conditions on its “Most Wanted” safety improvements list.

The aircraft model that crashed Thursday was certified by the FAA on Jan. 26, 2000, and the accident aircraft itself was not manufactured until 2008-well after the Roselawn recommendations were issued and with full knowledge of the dangers that turboprops and deicing boots face in freezing conditions.

There was no move to incorporate the more effective (but more expensive) heated wing technology. What’s more, an airworthiness directive published by the FAA in 1996 notes that the earlier, 40-seat model of DHC-8 aircraft had an unsafe condition which could result in loss of control of the aircraft when flaps were extended during icing conditions-as they were in Thursday’s crash-and further that the autopilot should not be engaged in “severe icing conditions,” a vaguely defined term.

But because the FAA basically ignored the NTSB’s recommendation to adequately test aircraft in these conditions before declaring them airworthy, the certification of this new version of the DHC-8 went along without a hitch. The most substantial change to the new model was not related to safety: the aircraft was stretched to allow 78 passengers to be carried by the aircraft. In short, even in light of the Roselawn and Monroe accidents, safety was compromised so that these aircraft would be allowed to fly more people at cheaper cost.

In this instance, the FAA and the airline industry clearly placed a higher value on profit than on their passengers’ safety. Well-known risks were overlooked, well-documented recommendations were ignored. That this plane was allowed to fly in dangerous conditions for which it was not thoroughly tested and prepared, and without recommended safety measures and devices in place, demonstrates this.

This attitude must change. The NTSB should move quickly to identify any deficiencies and FAA should take the requested action, such as prohibiting this aircraft from operating in icing conditions until remedies are established. I hope this accident will finally cause the FAA and the commercial aviation industry to take icing risks seriously so that a tragedy such as this will not happen again.

Jim Hall, an attorney with Nolan Law Group, was chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board from 1994 to 2001.

Timeline of NTSB Icing Recommendations


October 31, 1994:Crash of ATR 72-212 (turboprop) at Roselawn, ID. 68 people were killed. American subsequently moved operations of ATR 72 to the Caribbean and southern U.S.

July 9, 1996: NTSB Aircraft Accident Report regarding Roselawn accident released. Probable cause was a “loss of control, attributed to a sudden and unexpected aileron hinge moment reversal that occurred after a ridge of ice accreted beyond the deice boots.”

August 8, 1996: NTSB Issues Safety Recommendations A-96-48 through A-96-69. Among these are Recommendations A-96-54 and A-96-56 which read as follows:

  • Revise the icing criteria published in 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 23 and 25, in light of both recent research into aircraft ice accretion under varying conditions of liquid water content, drop size distribution, and temperature, and recent developments in both the design and use of aircraft. Also, expand the Appendix C icing certification envelope to include freezing drizzle/freezing rain and mixed water/ice crystal conditions, as necessary. (A-96-54

 

  • Revise the icing certification testing regulation to ensure that airplanes are properly tested for all conditions in which they are authorized to operate, or are otherwise shown to be capable of safe flight into such conditions. If safe operations cannot be demonstrated by the manufacturer, operational limitations should be imposed to prohibit flight in such conditions and flightcrews should be provided with the means to positively determine when they are in icing conditions that exceed the limits for aircraft certification. (A-96-56)

 

August 20, 1997: NTSB classifies the FAA’s response to A-96-54 and A-96-56 as “Open-Acceptable” after FAA created an Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) to develop certification criteria for the safe operation of aircraft in icing conditions.

1999: De Havilland Dash 8 Series Q402 receives type certification.

January 27, 2003: NTSB writes letter to FAA regarding the work of the ARAC, saying it is concerned about the “slow pace of the [the ARAC’s work].” The NTSB stated, “Although the FAA, through its referral of this work to the ARAC, is responding to these recommendations, the Safety Board remains concerned that in the 6 years since these recommendations were issued, the work has not been completed. The Board would like the FAA to provide a schedule for completion of the recommended actions.”

May 19, 2003: FAA responds to NTSB’s concern, stating that “The FAA will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking based on these recommendations by June 2004.”

November 9, 2004: After an NTSB meeting regarding “Most Wanted Recommendations,” NTSB classifies Recommendations A-96-54 and A-96-56 as “Open-Unacceptable.”

February 15, 2005: Cessna Citation 560, owned by Circuit City Stores, Inc. crashed in Pueblo, CO 4 miles east of Pueblo Memorial Airport. 8 people were killed. NTSB stated probable causes as: “the flight crew’s failure to effectively monitor and maintain airspeed and comply with procedures for deice boot activation on the approach, which caused an aerodynamic stall from which they did not recover. Contributing to the accident was the Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to establish adequate certification requirements for flight into icing conditions, which led to the inadequate stall warning margin provided by the airplane’s stall warning system.” (Emphasis added)

May 10, 2006: Two years after the FAA’s own deadline for action, the NTSB issued a statement again lamenting the lack of action: “There does not appear to have been any progress since the FAA previously informed the Board of the status of this recommendation on September 15, 2003.”

February 27, 2007: From NTSB update on FAA action regarding the Recommendations: “[T]he FAA has still not received the recommendations from [its working group studying deicing certification], prepared regulatory analyses, issued the NPRM, analyzed comments, or completed the many other tasks involved in issuing new regulations.”

April 16, 2008: Aircraft involved in Buffalo crash issued certificate of airworthiness.

February 12, 2009: Crash of de Havilland Dash 8 Q-402 (turboprop) outside of Buffalo, NY killed 50 people. Cockpit Voice Recorder indicated that crew mentioned significant ice buildup on windshield and leading edge of wings.

US Airways Flight 1549 Makes Emergency Landing in Hudson River

Accident Overview

On Thursday January 15, 2008, US Airways flight 1549 made an emergency landing in the frigid Hudson River after attempting to take off from Manhattan’s LaGuardia Airport. The plane, bound for Charlotte, N.C., took off at 3:26 p.m. eastern time. Less than a minute later, the pilot reported a “double bird strike” and radioed that he needed to return to LaGuardia. Air traffic controllers initially gave the pilot instructions to return to New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, but the pilot replied, “unable.” Teterboro airstrip in the northern New Jersey suburbs was also recommended, but the pilot again responded, “unable.”and that he was going into the river. Witnesses from nearby buildings watched the plane steadily descend into the icy Hudson for a splash landing on it’s belly. The aircraft didn’t bounce and came to a relatively fast stop. After the impact, the plane quickly became submerged up to its windows in the 36-degree water. It is believed that the plane encountered a flock of geese and that some of them may have flown into one or both of the jet’s engines.

 U.S. Airways flight 1549 In Hudson


Passengers and Crew

The plane was carrying 155 passengers, two pilots and three flight attendants. Everyone on-board was evacuated via life rafts and a flotilla of Coast Guard vessels, ferries, water taxis and tourist boats. Dozens of passengers stood on the aircraft’s wings until resuce craft could carry them to safety. There were 78 injuries reported in the crash including hypothermia, bruising and some broken bones.

 Rescue Flotialla


Preliminary Investigation

As of Friday January 16, 2008 National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration inspectors were on scene. Officials said the cause of the crash was under investigation, but initial reports suggested the plane may have hit birds after taking off. Federal investigators said the left engine of the US Airways jetliner was missing. The aircraft, was tethered to a pier on the tip of lower Manhattan on Friday — about four miles from where it touched down. Investigators will begin focusing on recovery of the missing engine and the black box. They also plan on interviewing the crew.


Aircraft Information

The aircraft involved in the accident was a Airbus A320 built in 1999 with registration number N106US.

Airbus A320 N106US.


Operator Information

US Airways operates hubs in Charlotte, Philadelphia and Phoenix and is the fifth largest airline in the United States. A member of the Star Alliance, it has a fleet of 353 mainline jet aircraft and 319 regional jet and turbo-prop aircraft connecting 200 destinations in North America, Central America, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Europe.


Nolan Law Group Files Lawsuit on Behalf of the Parents of a 14-Month-Old Girl Killed in October 15th 2008 Medical Evacuation Helicopter Crash Near Aurora, Illinois

CHICAGO, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ — A lawsuit stemming from the catastrophic October 15, 2008 crash of an Air Angels EMS Helicopter near Aurora, Illinois was filed today on behalf of Robert and Brooke Blockinger, who suffered the tragic loss of their 14-month-old daughter Kirstin Reann Blockinger.

Kirstin Reann Blockinger was one of four individuals who was killed when the emergency medical evacuation helicopter bound for Children’s Memorial Hospital hit a radio tower and its supporting structure and crashed in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, Illinois.

The EMS helicopter which belonged to Air Angels Inc. was carrying a 3-person crew which included a pilot, a nurse and a paramedic, all of whom were employed by Air Angels Inc. Kirstin Reann Blockinger was being transported to Children’s Memorial for the purpose of receiving treatment for a medical emergency.

The crash of this Medical Services (EMS) Bell 222 Helicopter was the latest in a tragic wave of EMS helicopter accidents last year. The families of the four victims join dozens of others who mourn the loss of loved ones that have been killed in EMS Helicopters in the past months. Despite the long list of recent tragedies, however, there has been no change to the rules governing EMS safety — rules that are known to be flawed and insufficient.

“What makes this accident even worse is that is was preventable,” said aviation attorney Donald J. Nolan. “In February of 2006, the NTSB made safety recommendations which were largely ignored,” Nolan added. “Our hope is that this lawsuit will draw attention to this issue and help bring about industry change.”

Named in the suit are Air Angels Inc., Reach Medical Holdings Inc., and Richard D. Hoffman, as personal representative of the estate of Delbert Lee Waugh.

The complaint was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County and alleges that Kirstin Reann Blockinger’s untimely death was caused as a direct and proximate result of the defendant’s breach of duty of care.

The lawsuit also asserts that the defendants were responsible for exercising the highest and/or ordinary degree of care in the operation, maintenance, possession and control over the subject helicopter so as not to cause injury and further specifies the following acts or omissions by defendants:

— Negligently and carelessly failed to require and provide two pilots for operation of subject flight

— Negligently and carelessly failed to equip the subject helicopter with a proper and adequate Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TWAS)

— Negligently and carelessly failed to provide proper and adequate time and information to the pilot for flight planning

— Negligently and carelessly failed to keep sage and proper separation between the subject helicopter and existing tower hazard

— Negligently and carelessly failed to provide proper and adequate flight following measures

— Negligently and carelessly operated, controlled and equipped and maintained the subject helicopter in particulars to be determined through the course of discovery

Robert Blockinger and Brooke Blockinger have been appointed co-special administrators to their daughter’s estate and, as such, are seeking personal and pecuniary damages, including but not limited to, loss of society, love and companionship for the loss of their daughter in a sum in excess of the minimal jurisdictional limits of the Cook County Circuit Court.

In early February of 2009, there will be public hearings regarding the safety of EMS helicopter operations. Nolan Law Group and the Blockingers are planning to attend.

Nolan Law Group is a Chicago-based personal injury law firm concentrating in aviation accidents, construction accidents, brain injury litigation, medical malpractice, premises liability, product liability, and trucking accidents.