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Insurers Settle Lawsuits over Philippines Crash for $165M

Insurance companies have agreed to pay $165 million (euro104.63 million) to settle lawsuits brought by relatives of those killed in a 2000 plane crash in the Philippines, lawyers for the families said.

The families of about 100 of the 131 people killed in the crash sued the American companies that owned the plane and leased it to Air Philippines accusing them of providing a worn-out plane in need of constant maintenance that the airline was incapable or unwilling to do.

The case, filed in state court in Chicago, was scheduled for trial in September but was settled in late February by Air Philippines’ insurers, who negotiated on behalf of the plane’s suppliers. Neither the American companies, Air Philippines nor the insurers admitted responsibility.

Donald J. Nolan, whose Chicago law firm took the lead in the case, said the amount of the settlement will improve safety in developing countries, where carriers often buy aging aircraft no longer wanted by U.S. airlines.

Nolan said after legal fees of about one-third the award, families will get on average more than $1 million (euro630,000) each. The judge must still approve disbursements from a trust fund to individual families, which will receive varying awards.

The lawyer said Air Philippines offered families about $20,000 (euro12,682) each.

The Air Philippines Boeing 737 that crashed was made in 1978 and operated for 20 years by Southwest Airlines Co., which faces a $10.2 million (euro6.47 million) fine by U.S. regulators for flying 737s without making required inspections for cracks in the fuselages.

Lawyers said the plane had cracks and a faulty altimeter when it was delivered to Air Philippines, but they did not sue Southwest because it had no role in selling the jet to the foreign carrier.

The plane was purchased in 1998 by AAR Corp., an Illinois-based company that sells aircraft parts and leases planes to some of the world’s largest carriers. AAR leased the plane to Air Philippines and then sold the plane and the lease to Fleet Business Credit Corp., which is now a subsidiary of Bank of America Corp.

AAR “did some cosmetic work, didn’t do a (heavy-maintenance) ‘D’ check … and shipped it out to the Philippines,” said Gerald C. Sterns, an aviation lawyer in Oakland, Calif., who also represented some of the families. “They are in the business of providing cheap aircraft to lease.”

In 1999, AAR obtained an airworthiness certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration judging the planes sound enough to export to that country.

While on a commuter flight from Manila to Davao in the Philippines in April 2000, the plane crashed into the side of a hill as the pilot made a second attempt to land on the runway. All 124 passengers and seven crew members were killed.

A commission appointed by the president of the Philippines blamed the crash on pilot error and found no evidence of mechanical failure. But lawyers for the families said no one will ever know what caused the crash because parts of the mangled plane were dumped in a pit and buried in concrete before they could be examined by independent experts.

David P. Storch, the chairman and chief executive of AAR, said the burial of the plane probably played a role in the insurance companies’ decision to settle. “I believe they felt they had a problem with what the Philippines authorities had done with the aircraft,” he said.

But Storch defended his company’s overhaul of the plane and the lease to Air Philippines.

“We delivered a very good aircraft in good working condition to a very good airline,” he said. “Unfortunately, this aircraft had an accident because the pilot got in some clouds and got disoriented.”

Gary W. Westerberg, a lawyer for the London insurers, said his clients settled because of court rulings that AAR and Fleet controlled documents, witnesses and disposal of the wreckage. The companies also failed in an effort to try the lawsuits in the Philippines.

Nolan and Sterns said companies such as AAR that buy planes and lease them to foreign airlines will face higher insurance premiums as a result of the settlement.

But Storch, the AAR chief executive, said the settlement won’t have any financial impact on his company, which he said was indemnified for its costs by Air Philippines’ insurers. He also said the case will not deter AAR from leasing planes to customers that include British Airways, UAL Corp.’s United Airlines and Continental Airlines Inc.

“We have an impeccable safety record,” Storch said.

$165 Million Paid By American Leasing Companies

To Resolve Air Philippines Flight 541 Lawsuits

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. The settlement of $165 million was achieved on behalf of families of 110 of the 131 deceased passengers and crew who chose to pursue claims in the United States against the American lessors of the Boeing 737-200 airplane. Donald J. Nolan of Nolan Law Group acted as Lead Counsel for all plaintiffs in the cases.

The 110 individually filed wrongful death lawsuits were prosecuted in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois against Chicago area companies, AAR Aircraft & Engine Group, Inc., and Fleet Business Credit Corporation. AAR was the owner of the airplane in January 1999, when it leased the plane to Air Philippines. In April, 1999 the plane was sold by AAR to Fleet, at which time AAR also assigned Fleet its rights under the lease with Air Philippines.

On April 19, 2000, the Boeing airplane was being operated by Air Philippines as Flight 541 on a domestic route from Manila to Davao City. As the airplane was on its initial approach for landing at the Davao airport, the crew performed a “go-around” as a Philippine Airlines plane was occupying the runway to be used for landing. While on its second approach for landing, the Flight 541 airplane encountered low level clouds and consequently collided with trees and the ground on a 577′ hill located within a coconut plantation on Samal Island. All people aboard perished.

In the lawsuits that ensued, Nolan Law Group took the position that these American companies should never have leased the airplane to Air Philippines, a then under-funded and unsafe start-up airline. In other words, the defendants negligently entrusted the airplane to a company that was not able to operate and maintain it in a safe manner. However, the airplane lease was regarded by the defendants as a profitable business venture, in which higher lease payments were gained because the airplane was going to a carrier in the developing world.

Nolan Law Group took the additional position that AAR and Fleet failed to equip the aircraft with an enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) and instead provided an outdated GPWS that was unsuitable for the topography of the Philippine terrain. The newer system would have given the pilots an approximate half-minute warning that they were approaching the fateful hill. The outdated system provided the pilots of Flight 541 a mere four second warning.

Faced with these facts and that the defendants and their records were located in the Chicago area, Nolan Law Group felt the lawsuits would be handled more efficiently and effectively in the United States than in the Philippines. However, Defendants, AAR and Fleet (now part of Bank of America), fought vigorously to have the lawsuits dismissed in favor of the Philippines under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. Nevertheless, the facts and arguments presented by Nolan Law Group resulted in the trial court denying the defendants’ request. The trial court decision of Judge Kathy Flanagan was later affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court in a published decision, Ellis v. AAR Parts Trading, Inc., 357 Ill. App. 3d 723, 828 N.E.2d 726 (1st Dist. 2004).

One of the many lessons from this case is that a company leasing an aircraft has a duty to provide oversight to ensure that passengers fly on airplanes that are adequately equipped, safely maintained, and operated by properly trained pilots. Attempting to say, “we leased it and relied on the governmental authorities of foreign countries to assure passenger safety” is not sufficient in the United States or Illinois courts. In the future, lessors and owners will need to learn that “oversight” does not mean to “overlook.”

6.5 Million Dollar Settlement Paid By Insurers Cna & Aig For 39 Year Old Worker Injured On Construction Site

Today, Cook County Judge Richard J. Elrod approved a settlement in the amount of $6,500,000.00 for the benefit of Carlos Galindo who was seriously injured after being pinned between a 12,000 pound steel excavation box and a load of sewer pipe in July of 2002. On July 30, 2002, Carlos Galindo was working as a union laborer for a sewer installation subcontractor during the construction of the Hyundai distribution plant in Aurora, Illinois. Defendant, Clayco Construction Inc., was the general contractor for the construction project and had hired Mr. Galindo’s employer on the project. Mr. Galindo was injured when one of the chains being used to hoist and move the trench box slipped through a connecting hook causing the trench box to tip over onto the workmen. Mr. Galindo was struck in the head and back by the trench box and his body was trapped between the trench box and a load of sewer pipe. Following the occurrence, Mr. Galindo was taken by ambulance to Provena Medical Center and then airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital due to the severity of his injuries. As a result of the occurrence, Mr. Galindo suffered internal injuries and a fractured right shoulder blade which severed the nerves controlling his right arm. In addition, Mr. Galindo suffered a fractured tibia and fibula requiring multiple surgical interventions. Mr. Galindo currently has no feeling in his right arm but is able to write and drive using his left arm.

Attorneys for the Galindo family, Donald J. Nolan, Thomas P. Routh and Paul R. Borth, of Nolan Law Group; alleged that Clayco Construction, Inc., as general contractor on the jobsite, failed to properly supervise the hoisting of the trench box and failed to enforce its own safety rules for lifting and crane use. It was further alleged that as one in Acontrol@ of the work under the Restatement (Torts) Second ‘ 414; Clayco Construction, Inc., failed to stop the work when it knew or should have known that the lifting operation was unsafe and posed a danger to the laborers on the construction site.

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. Clayco Construction Inc. was represented by Peter G. Skiko, Larry Helms and Meredith Gaffke of Swanson, Martin & Bell, Chicago, Illinois.

Families of victims in White Pass plane crash sue Cessna

The families of nine skydivers killed when their plane crashed in Washington’s Cascade range have filed suit against Cessna Aircraft Co., claiming the aircraft-maker knew the plane performed poorly in icy conditions.

The lawsuits were filed separately in U.S. District Court in Seattle. Relatives of Ralph Abdo, who died in the Oct. 19 crash with eight other passengers and the pilot, were the latest to file suit on March 6.

The lawsuits seek punitive damages and other damages in excess of $25 million, alleging wrongful death.

The skydivers were returning to Western Washington from a weekend trip in Idaho when the Cessna Caravan 208 crashed into thick timber about 45 miles west of Yakima near the Goat Rocks Wilderness Area. A hunter in the crash area reported seeing the low-flying plane and said the engine seemed to be whining loudly, followed by silence.

A cold front had just swept through the area near White Pass where the plane went down. The Federal Aviation Administration had warned in recent years that pilots should avoid flying the Cessna Caravan 208 in many icy conditions after receiving reports that pilots had difficulty maintaining altitude and control of the aircraft during such conditions.

Dean Brett, a lawyer representing the families, said they hope to see that the airplane is decertified from flying into icy conditions.

“The plane operates fine in good weather, but because of its design characteristics, it should not be flown in icing conditions and should not be certified to do so,” Brett said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Brett’s firm has teamed with a Chicago firm, Nolan Law Group, which is handling several other lawsuits involving the aircraft. The cases have been consolidated and are in the discovery process in Kansas. Cessna is based in Wichita, Kan. Spokesman Doug Oliver said the company’s policy is not to comment on pending litigation.

A report on the crash has not yet been issued by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The plane was registered to Kapowsin Air Sports of Shelton, located near Olympia. The skydivers were affiliated with Skydive Snohomish, a company that operates a training school and skydiving flights at Harvey Field in Snohomish County, about 20 miles north of Seattle.

Killed in the crash with Abdo were Casey Craig, Hollie Rasberry, Michelle Barker, Landon Atkin, Jeff Ross, Cecil Elsner, Andrew Smith, Bryan Jones, and pilot Phil Kibler. All lived in Western Washington

FDA finds unidentified substance in Baxter’s blood-thinning drug heparin

A significant amount of an un-identified foreign substance contaminated Baxter International Inc.’s blood-thinning drug heparin, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday, raising the possibility of intentional tampering in a supply chain that begins with pig farms in China
.The mysterious substance, which has a chemical makeup similar to heparin, comprises as much as 20 percent of the active ingredient in nine suspect lots produced by Baxter since September, the FDA said Wednesday. The suspect lots are connected to at least four deaths reported nationwide since Baxter noted a spike in adverse reactions to the drug in late December.

The FDA on Wednesday said heparin is connected to as many as 19 deaths and 785 serious illnesses since

Jan. 1, 2007
Jan. 1, 2007

. But the FDA timeline extends well beyond the period from September to November, when Baxter’s Cherry Hill, N.J., plant produced the heparin connected to the recent rash of serious allergic reactions. The suspect active ingredient in heparin originated at a Changzhou, China, plant owned by Scientific Protein Laboratories, a Baxter supplier based in Waunakee, Wis.
“We don’t know whether the introduction of the contaminant was accidental, as part of the biological process, or if it was deliberate,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting director of the FDA’s center for drug evaluation and research.
At least one former top FDA official who helped lead the fight against counterfeit drugs indicated that some Chinese suppliers in the past have introduced foreign substances to boost production when supplies are tight. That’s what happened in the early 1990s with an antibiotic known as gentamicin sulphate, which produced adverse reactions and some deaths in the U.S.
“The obvious question is, ‘Are these plants back-dooring their supply in order to supplement their capacity?'” asked Benjamin England, who chaired the FDA’s Counterfeit Drug Working Group before leaving for a private law practice in

Washington, D.C.
, in 2003.Epidemic in

China
China

Heparin is produced from an enzyme in the mucous lining of pig intestines. The suspect lots of heparin were made beginning in September, just after the peak in an epidemic of an often-fatal disease known as “blue ear” that afflicted more than 250,000 pigs throughout

China
. More than half those pigs died or were exterminated.An FDA official at the press conference said it is possible supplies of the adulterated ingredient came from pig intestines. But FDA officials emphasized they have not pinpointed the source.

Conventional quality and safety testing typically does not discover a foreign substance,

England
England

added, because the tests are not designed for that purpose.The FDA in its press conference Wednesday said conventional tests performed by Baxter and Scientific Protein did not show any variation because the contaminant is so similar to heparin.

“It acts like heparin in this test, so it looks like everything is fine in the test,” Woodcock said.

Only after further testing, using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, did the differences in chemical makeup become apparent, the FDA said.
Scientific Protein’s plant obtains heparin from bulk providers of raw material. From its plant in

Changzhou, Scientific Protein ships raw heparin to the company’s headquarters outside Madison, Wis., then on to Baxter’s Cherry Hill
Changzhou, Scientific Protein ships raw heparin to the company’s headquarters outside Madison, Wis., then on to Baxter’s Cherry Hill

plant for final processing, packaging and shipping.Pointing fingers

Baxter, in its own press conference, sought to point the investigative spotlight back to

China
China

. Baxter executives said the active pharmaceutical ingredient sourced from its China-based supplier is the focus of the company’s investigation.”Either the problem lies further back in the supply chain, somewhere before the material gets to the processing plant, or there’s something in the processing before it comes to Baxter,” said Peter Arduini, president of Baxter’s medication delivery business.

Arduini said the company’s

Cherry Hill
Cherry Hill

manufacturing plant, where multidose vials of heparin are finished and filled before shipment to hospitals and dialysis centers, recently passed an FDA inspection.Arduini said Baxter’s investigation centers further into the “supply stream” in

China
China

. There could be “process issues” associated with Scientific Protein’s Chinese manufacturing plant, he said.Baxter also took issue with the numbers provided by the FDA, which said heparin has played a role in 19 patient deaths since

Jan. 1, 2007
Jan. 1, 2007

. Baxter insists that four deaths so far may be connected to adverse reactions to the suspect heparin.For its part, Scientific Protein disagreed with the FDA’s interpretation of test results that seems to focus the investigation on a possible adulterated material being added during Scientific Protein’s production process.

“During the call with the media, FDA speculated that the source of the adverse events may be a contaminant,” Scientific Protein said in a statement. “It is important to note that this theory is speculation at this point, and [Scientific Protein] is participating actively in working with the FDA to pursue this theory as well as others so that we can understand the cause of the adverse events.”
Scientific Protein’s

Changzhou
Changzhou

plant, owned in a joint venture with a Chinese partner, is preparing a response to an FDA inspection report last week that criticized the plant’s record-keeping, reporting and processes. “It is important to emphasize that the root cause of the heparin adverse events has not been tied to any of the agency’s observations,” Scientific Protein said in a statement.FDA inspections

Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, commissioner of the FDA, declined to say whether the FDA physically inspects the more than 700 Chinese facilities that ship pharmaceutical ingredients and drug products to the

U.S. The FDA has deployed a “risk-based” system that seeks to focus inspection on plants that might potentially cause the most harm to U.S.
U.S. The FDA has deployed a “risk-based” system that seeks to focus inspection on plants that might potentially cause the most harm to U.S.

consumers.Von Eschenbach said the agency is beginning to reallocate resources to better address the problems presented by the huge growth in foreign-made drugs. “We recognize that the number of sites that we must pay attention to that are beyond our borders are going to require us to address this systematically,” he said.

The FDA plans to increase the number of inspectors, base inspectors in key foreign cities, and build stronger working relationships with foreign regulators, Von Eschenbach added.

FDA Finds Contaminant in Baxter’s Recalled Heparin Products

WEDNESDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) — Tests have found a heparin-like contaminant in heparin blood-thinning products made by Baxter Healthcare Corp. that have been linked to hundreds of adverse reactions and at least four deaths in the United States, federal health officials said Wednesday.”While the FDA has not determined the root cause of the adverse events, we have found a heparin-like compound, which is not heparin, present in some of the active pharmaceutical ingredients produced by Scientific Protein Laboratories,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said during an afternoon teleconference.

Ray Godlewski, vice president of quality for Baxter’s medication delivery business, said during a subsequent teleconference that “all the contaminated heparin came from China.”

Scientific Protein Laboratories, of Waunakee, Wisc., and its Changzhou SPL plant in Changzhou City, China, is Baxter’s main supplier of the active pharmaceutical ingredient in heparin, Woodcock said.

“This contaminant is present in significant quantities in some of the active pharmaceutical ingredients, accounting for approximately 5 to 20 percent of the substance tested,” Woodcock said.

The substance reacts like heparin in the conventional tests that are used for heparin, which is why those tests of ingredients might not detect the contaminant, Woodcock said.

Heparin is a blood-thinner whose main ingredient comes from pig intestines. The drug is often given to dialysis patients and people undergoing heart surgery.

“At this point, we do not know how the heparin-like compound got into a heparin active pharmaceutical ingredient,” Woodcock said. “Whether it was deliberately or accidentally added it is not known,” she added.

The tests that found the contaminant were conducted by the FDA and Baxter, as well as some university laboratories.

Woodcock said the FDA hasn’t uncovered a direct link between the contaminant and the adverse events and deaths. “We know that some of the suspect batches of heparin that were causing the adverse events have this contaminant in it. So there is an association between the contaminant in the presence of adverse events, but it is not a direct causal link yet,” she said.

The FDA is also unsure if other heparin products used in the United States or other countries contain this contaminant, Woodcock said. The FDA will be releasing data on how companies can screen heparin for this contaminant, she said.

Following Wednesday’s teleconference, Scientific Protein Laboratories released a prepared statement that said it was “premature to conclude that the heparin active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) sourced from China and provided by SPL to Baxter is responsible for these adverse events.”

“During the call with the media, FDA speculated that the source of the adverse events may be a contaminant. It is important to note that this theory is speculation at this point, and SPL is participating actively in working with the FDA to pursue this theory, as well as others, so that we can understand the cause of the adverse events,” the statement said.

Contaminated products from China have been an ongoing worry for the FDA. If the heparin contamination turns out to be deliberate, it would be reminiscent of last year’s scandal when a Chinese company was charged with adding the toxic chemical melamine to an ingredient used in U.S. pet food that killed thousands of dogs and cats. The melamine let the ingredient pass chemical inspections for protein content, the Associated Press reported.

On Feb. 28, Baxter Healthcare, of Deerfield, Ill., which had provided about half the nation’s supply of heparin, announced it was recalling any remaining multi-dose vials of heparin as well as single-dose heparin vials. The company also recalled its Hep-Lock heparin flush products, which include a small amount of heparin and are used to prevent blood clots in intravenous lines.

The recall was made possible because the other manufacturer of multi-dose heparin vials, APP Pharmaceuticals of Schaumburg, Ill., was able to assure the FDA that they could meet all the demand in the United States.

At that time, the FDA also said it had completed its inspection of Scientific Protein Laboratories’ Changzhou SPL plant. The plant was no longer producing heparin, inspectors found. The inspectors did find deficiencies in the way the plant removed impurities and dealt with testing results that didn’t meet specifications. In addition, they found problems in waste disposal and equipment, according to the FDA.

Since the end of December, there have been 785 reports of adverse reactions associated with Baxter’s heparin product. This compares with less than 100 reports of adverse reactions in all of 2007.

There also have been 46 deaths, four of which were associated with an adverse reaction to heparin, according to the FDA.

Most of the reactions have taken place at hemodialysis centers, almost exclusively involving patients receiving a “bolus dose,” which is a high dose administered over a short period of time, according to the FDA.

Adverse reactions included difficulty breathing, nausea or vomiting, excessive sweating and falling blood pressure, which can lead to life-threatening shock. These reactions have been seen with as few as several thousand units per milliliter of heparin, and as much as 50,000 units per milliliter.

More information

For more on heparin, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: March 5, 2008, teleconference with Janet Woodcock, M.D., Deputy Commissioner for Scientific and Medical Programs, Chief Medical Officer, and Acting Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; March 5, 2008, teleconference with Ray Godlewski, vice president of quality for Baxter’s medication delivery business;March 5, 2008, prepared statement, Scientific Protein Laboratories, Waunakee, Wisc.

Nolan Law Group Files Suit Against Cessna Caravan

In response to inquiries regarding the filing of the case Allan v. Cessna Aircraft Company, Nolan Law Group issues the following statement:

Cessna Lawsuit Alleges Fraud; Family Seeks $25 Million in Punitive Damages

Chicago, Illinois (October 6, 2006).-Nolan Law Group filed a lawsuit against Cessna and Goodrich on behalf of yet another family who has suffered human loss due to a crash of a Cessna Caravan airplane in icing conditions. The complaint was filed in the Southern District Court of New York alleging fraud, product liability, negligence and breach of warranty. The family is also seeking $25 million in punitive damages from Cessna for the loss of their mother, Nancy Chase Allan, an air cargo pilot for a FedEx feeder airline.

“This represents more than just one more accident,” says Donald J. Nolan of Chicago-based Nolan Law Group. “The fraudulent conduct alleged here relates to a breach of trust and confidence by Cessna. How can the owners and operators of these planes trust what Cessna is saying anymore?”

On October 6, 2005, the Cessna 208B, carrying cargo for FedEx Corp. crashed on railway tracks near a major downtown intersection in Winnipeg, Canada, killing the pilot. The Morning Star Air Express (Flight 8060) was completely destroyed upon impact.

The Canadian Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigation of the accident is ongoing, but it has already cited in-flight airframe icing as a factor in this crash.

The Cessna Caravan is presently being marketed as a safe and secure aircraft for winter operations. A contention disputed by Nolan Law Group. “Innocent pilots and passengers are losing their lives while Cessna is continuing to promote this aircraft as safe and while icing accidents continue to occur, “offers Jerry Skinner, a Nolan Law Group attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Nolan Law Group currently represents victims and families of victims from four separate accidents where Cessna Caravan planes have crashed (Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas and Idaho,) due to icing induced stalls. There is an undeniable pattern of design failure directly contributing to the growing number of people killed and injured in these crashes across the nation and the world. The recommendation of the NTSB for the FAA to take action related to safety of flight into icing conditions of the Cessna Caravan model airplane remains one of its “Most Wanted” items. In December 2004, the NTSB itemized 26 accidents of the Cessna Caravan in the previous 10 years related to icing.

About Nolan Law Group

Nolan Law Group helps individuals and families, in Chicago and around the world, after a tragic loss or serious personal injury. The law firm focuses its practice primarily on mass tort aviation and traumatic brain injury litigation.

Nolan Law Group is one of a small number of law firms with a niche in the highly complex and everchanging area of global and domestic aviation litigation.

The firm has earned recognition by the legal industry’s leading authority, Martindale, for impeccable professional ethics and for legal abilities of the highest caliber. Nolan Law Group provides strength in practice; greater results.

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Nolan Law Group Files Suit in Wisconsin Plane Crash

Chicago, Illinois.-A lawsuit arising from the crash which killed three people near Burlington, Wisconsin was filed today by Nolan Law Group in the Circuit Court of Kenosha County. The lawsuit names defendants D&G Supply of Niles, Michigan, Blackhawk Aircraft Maintenance of Janesville, Wisconsin and Precision Airmotive of Seattle Washington. Allegations include product liability and negligence due to a faulty fuel servo on the right engine of the airplane. Nolan Law Group represents the wife and four children of deceased passenger Henry “Herb” Grochowske from Genoa City, Wisconsin.

On September 30, 2004, the privately owned Beech B95A, piloted by Grochowske, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain after takeoff from Burlington Municipal Airport, Burlington, Wisconsin. The aircraft was en route to Westosha Airport, Wilmont, Wisconsin and operating in clear weather conditions. All three passengers died at the scene of the crash.

“Henry Grochowske’s loss of life could have been avoided had the engine parts of this plane been properly overhauled and installed,” says Charles Barnett, attorney of Chicago based Nolan Law Group. “The devastation Mr. Grochowske’s family and the other two passengers’ families have endured is enormous. Accidents like this one can be prevented.”

Suit alleges product liability, negligence and wrongful death against maintenance and service companies as well as against the manufacturer of the original part.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The improper maintenance of the fuel servo resulting in a loose adjustment nut and subsequent failure of the fuel injection servo which led to a complete loss of power on the right engine.

About Nolan Law Group

Nolan Law Group helps individuals and families, in Chicago and around the world, after a tragic loss or serious personal injury. The law firm focuses its practice primarily on mass tort aviation and traumatic brain injury litigation. Nolan Law Group is one of a small number of law firms with a niche in the highly complex and ever-changing area of global and domestic aviation litigation. The firm has earned recognition by the legal industry’s leading authority, Martindale, for impeccable professional ethics and for legal abilities of the highest caliber. Nolan Law Group provides strength in practice; greater results.

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Nolan Law Group Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit against Mitsubishi’s Defectively Designed MU-2 Aircraft

Chicago, Illinois. – A wrongful death lawsuit was filed yesterday in Oakland County, Michigan on behalf of the Mother of a 33 year old pilot who died when the Mitsubishi MU-2B-36, N201UV, operated by Royal Air Freight Inc. crashed during a freight transport from Hagerstown, Maryland, to Bangor, Maine.

The suit was filed by Chicago based Nolan Law Group and claims at the time that the subject aircraft left the control of the defendant, MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES, LTD., (NYSE:MHI) that the aircraft contained certain conditions which rendered the aircraft defective, unreasonably dangerous and/or unfit for its intended use.

On March 25, 2004, Brian Templeton, 33, of Waterford, Michigan a certificated airline transport pilot, was fatally injured when his plane plunged 12,000 feet before hitting the ground and exploding into flames near a populated area in Pittsfield, Mass.

“The failure of this plane to operate safely in icing conditions is nothing new. Mitsubishi will be held responsible for its repeated inability to remedy this defective design,” says Donald J. Nolan of Nolan Law Group.

Nolan Law Group also represents the family of an Illinois couple who died when their Mitsubishi MU-2 airplane crashed during a routine landing out of state leaving behind four adult children. Ian White wrote in a letter to Senator Barack Obama “My parent’s crash is one of at least 108 instances (14.1% of only 764 ever made) where an MU-2 plane has stopped flying and fatally crashed.”

Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Congressman is “extremely critical of the FAA’s oversight of the horrendous safety record of the Mitsubishi MU-2,” he states in a letter written directly to the FAA on November 3, 2005. While a special type rating certificate requirement would help in the proper operation of the dangerous MU-2, (SFAR – Special Federal Aviation Regulation,) “stronger action is needed from the FAA, given the questions that have been raised about the airworthiness of the aircraft.”

About Nolan Law Group

Nolan Law Group helps individuals and families, in Chicago and around the world, after a tragic loss or serious personal injury. The law firm focuses its practice primarily on mass tort aviation and closed brain injury litigation.

Nolan Law Group is one of small number of law firms with a niche in the highly complex and ever-changing area of aviation litigation and is active all over the world. With regard to traumatic brain injury litigation, Nolan Law Group has pioneered the use of sophisticated technology to demonstrate the extent of brain damage that can occur as a result of accidents.

The firm has earned recognition by the legal industry’s leading authority, Martindale-Hubbell, for impeccable professional ethics and for legal abilities of the highest caliber.

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Nolan Law Group Files Suit in Southwest Crash at Midway

Chicago, Illinois.-A lawsuit arising from the crash of Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 at Midway Airport was filed today in the Circuit Court of Cook County by Nolan Law Group on behalf of one of the passengers in the crash. The lawsuit names Southwest Airlines and the City of Chicago, which operates Midway Airport, as defendants.

The Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 was landing in a snowstorm at Midway Airport at about 7:15 p.m. at the northwest corner of the airport when it skidded off the runway and crashed through a barrier and into traffic. Ms. Bonnie James, a medical technician and the plaintiff in this case, was one of the passengers taken by ambulance to a hospital after the crash. She has not returned to work since the accident. Ms. James is a resident of Chicago, Illinois.

“Ms. James and other passengers – as well as the people on the ground – were let down by everyone who had a hand in allowing that plane to land under the conditions that prevailed at the time,” aviation attorney Donald J. Nolan said in announcing the filing of the lawsuit. “Our hope is that this lawsuit will draw attention to the systemic weaknesses in place to protect the safety of our air travelers. One of the dreadful aspects of this tragedy is that it didn’t have to happen. It was completely avoidable if everyone entrusted with the safety of the aircraft had simply decided to divert the plane to a neighboring airport.”

“What makes this accident even worse is that runway overruns such as this are preventable with technology already in place at similar urban airports,” Nolan added. “Engineered Material Arresting Systems (EMAS) are in place at LaGuardia, JFK, Burbank, Little Rock and Baton Rouge airports,” he added, “and they have proven effective in averting such disasters.”

The arresting material, made of soft concrete, has stopped three dangerous overruns since May 1999 at Kennedy Airport in New York., Nolan said. “We know the system works,” Nolan says. “I think there is an urgent need to install the EMAS at Midway.”

National Transportation Safety Board member Ellen Engleman Conners said the braking condition of the runway at the time of accident was rated by air traffic controllers as “fair for most of the runway and poor at the end.” The plane hit the fence 32 seconds after it touched down. The plane’s ground speed was 152 miles per hour as it landed and it hit the fence at about 46 miles per hour, Conners said. A non-standard EMAS installation, which would be required at Midway, would be designed to stop aircraft traveling at 40 knots – which is exactly 46.1 mph, Nolan observed.

Nolan added that crashes like this one often result in mild trauma brain injury to passengers from being buffeted during extreme acceleration / deceleration of the aircraft. “There may be little or no apparent indication of physical injury,” Nolan explained, “beyond the victim saying he or she doesn’t ‘feel right’, and they spiral downward from the skeptical reception they receive. Neuroimaging techniques today show actual physical changes in the brain in cases of post-traumatic disorder, which is seen in virtually all cases like this.”

About Nolan Law Group

Nolan Law Group helps individuals and families, in Chicago and around the world, after a tragic loss or serious personal injury. The law firm focuses its practice primarily on mass tort aviation and closed brain injury litigation.

Nolan Law Group is one of small number of law firms with a niche in the highly complex and ever-changing area of aviation litigation and is active all over the world. With regard to traumatic brain injury litigation, Nolan Law Group has pioneered the use of sophisticated technology to demonstrate the extent of brain damage that can occur as a result of accidents.

The firm has earned recognition by the legal industry’s leading authority, Martindale-Hubbell, for impeccable professional ethics and for legal abilities of the highest caliber.

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