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Airchway Skydiving Sued

 

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lopullterri  (D 20814)

Jun 19, 2011, 8:35 PM
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Airchway Skydiving Sued Can't Post

June 2 suit was filed by the family of the student skydiver killed in October. Following are the names being sued. Archway Skydiving Centre, Inc., Jason Mark, Anita Wuertz, SSK Industries, Inc., Airtec GmbH Safety Systems, Vandalia Park District and Vandalia Municipal Airport.
http://dockets.justia.com/...3:2011cv00468/52524/

I am a little disappointed that Airtec and SSK are being named as the rigging error was not an issue with the Cypres. Following news story explains the reasoning, however it is a lame reason to sue those two companies.
http://www.stltoday.com/...27-3691ffdba773.html
In addition I have found reference to Archway Skydiving in Ohio.
http://www.facebook.com/...nter/158326950856979
Does anyone know what the relationship is? I have my theories but no proof.


davelepka  (D 21448)

Jun 19, 2011, 8:47 PM
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Quote:
In addition I have found reference to Archway Skydiving in Ohio.
http://www.facebook.com/...nter/158326950856979
Does anyone know what the relationship is? I have my theories but no proof.

I don't know what the hell that is. That's not Archway Skydiving, it's Aerohio. I'm not a facebooker, but I'm pretty sure Aerohio has a facebook page that's a 'real' facebook page, only adding to the confusion about that link.


sacex250

Jun 19, 2011, 10:40 PM
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Re: [lopullterri] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

It's Archway Skydiving in St. Louis.

The gist of the lawsuit is that the reserve closing loop wasn't routed through the Cypres cutter so even though the Cypres functioned properly it couldn't cut the closing loop and deploy the reserve.

Sounds like a reasonable lawsuit to me.


(This post was edited by sacex250 on Jun 19, 2011, 10:49 PM)


Adriandavies  (C 102332)

Jun 20, 2011, 12:51 AM
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Re: [sacex250] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The gist of the lawsuit is that the reserve closing loop wasn't routed through the Cypres cutter so even though the Cypres functioned properly it couldn't cut the closing loop and deploy the reserve.

Sounds like a reasonable lawsuit to me.
But if you take a common sense approach to this I don't think anyone apart from a lawyer would say that either Airtec or SSK had done anything to contribute to the fatality. The AAD worked as designed i.e. it fired at the correct altitude its just that it had nothing to cut as the reserve loop wasn't in the correct place.

As has been said before on DZ.com this is a case of lawyers chasing compensation no matter who was directly involved.


sacex250

Jun 20, 2011, 1:48 AM
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In reply to:
But if you take a common sense approach to this I don't think anyone apart from a lawyer would say that either Airtec or SSK had done anything to contribute to the fatality. The AAD worked as designed i.e. it fired at the correct altitude its just that it had nothing to cut as the reserve loop wasn't in the correct place.

As has been said before on DZ.com this is a case of lawyers chasing compensation no matter who was directly involved.
Since when does common sense apply to tort litigation? There's obviously some negligence here on Archway and the rigger, who's a co-owner.

If common sense were involved we'd just drop the whole matter and say, "why didn't the student just pull his chute?"

On the other hand, if I took my rig for a repack and found out that the closing loop wasn't threaded through the cutter by the previous rigger, I'd be looking to have someone's rigger's license pulled.

I don't think this is a frivolous lawsuit, there's some merit to it. Although, I don't think Airtec and SSK should be the held accountable for a device that wasn't installed correctly.


nickfrey

Jun 20, 2011, 2:35 AM
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They are claiming that the cypress should be able to sense whether or not the loop is through the cutter. Faulty design/product liability. If they can show misrouting the loop to be a foreseeable failure they may just have a case. Not one I agree with, but a case non the less.


theonlyski  (D License)

Jun 20, 2011, 4:01 AM
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Re: [sacex250] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Since when does common sense apply to tort litigation? There's obviously some negligence here on Archway and the rigger, who's a co-owner.

In reply to:
I don't think this is a frivolous lawsuit, there's some merit to it. Although, I don't think Airtec and SSK should be the held accountable for a device that wasn't installed correctly.

If they're going after the rigger, ok... I can see that (sort of, student didn't pull, so there was more than one link in the chain). However, going after the DZ, come the fuck on... that's just chasing money.

Tell me, what could the DZ have done to see the misrouted closing loop? Maybe you think that only that DZ's rigger should be packing the gear that is jumped there by anyone (tandem, fun jumper, students) so they can be held accountable for it. Other than that, they see my seal on it, they know it was packed by a licensed rigger. You can't tell if the loop is routed correctly thru the cutter when the rig is closed/sealed.


(This post was edited by theonlyski on Jun 20, 2011, 4:07 AM)


theonlyski  (D License)

Jun 20, 2011, 4:01 AM
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Re: [nickfrey] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
They are claiming that the cypress should be able to sense whether or not the loop is through the cutter. Faulty design/product liability. If they can show misrouting the loop to be a foreseeable failure they may just have a case. Not one I agree with, but a case non the less.

You've got to be shitting me... That is a horrible excuse for trying to get some money out of Airtec


sacex250

Jun 20, 2011, 5:04 AM
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Re: [theonlyski] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
f they're going after the rigger, ok... I can see that (sort of, student didn't pull, so there was more than one link in the chain). However, going after the DZ, come the fuck on... that's just chasing money.

Tell me, what could the DZ have done to see the misrouted closing loop? Maybe you think that only that DZ's rigger should be packing the gear that is jumped there by anyone (tandem, fun jumper, students) so they can be held accountable for it. Other than that, they see my seal on it, they know it was packed by a licensed rigger. You can't tell if the loop is routed correctly thru the cutter when the rig is closed/sealed.
Considering that the rigger is one of the owners of the dropzone, it's a pretty obvious connection. Not to mention, the dropzone owns and had rented out the gear to the student.

Your last sentence sums up the case against Airtec. When a Cypres is turned on it indicates to the jumper that it's working properly. If there is no way to check the closing loop before each jump then the logic would be that Cypres should have a way of informing the jumper that there is a problem with the cutter or closing loop if it can cause a malfunction since it can't be visually inspected. This becomes the weak link in the chain because Cypres checks itself whenever it's turned on, but the cutter and closing loop are only checked every six months, by someone other than the jumper.

It's not that far of a stretch, considering the courts, to say that the cutter should have a sensor to indicate whether the closing loop is present and under tension inside the cutter.


theonlyski  (D License)

Jun 20, 2011, 5:21 AM
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In reply to:
This becomes the weak link in the chain because Cypres checks itself whenever it's turned on, but the cutter and closing loop are only checked every six months, by someone other than the jumper.

This upsets me... I am more than willing to have someone watch and help with an I&R for no extra fees, and I may even buy pizza for them. Most jumpers don't give a flying f HOW the gear works, they just want you to do it for them. Mad

Going after the dz... still doesn't seem right in my eyes. I don't care if it was dz gear, or if the rigger owned half the dz, it was a rigging error, not a dz error.


popsjumper  (D 999999999)

Jun 20, 2011, 5:49 AM
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Re: [Adriandavies] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
As has been said before on DZ.com this is a case of lawyers chasing compensation no matter who was directly involved.

...and there it is in a nutshell. That's what lawyers do. It's what they are paid for...get some money.

The funny part is that the lawyer seemingly quite often gets the bulk of it.
LaughLaugh


Just one more case of "Never mind that my Johnny didn't do anything to save his ass, it's YOUR fault!"


davelepka  (D 21448)

Jun 20, 2011, 6:08 AM
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Quote:
I don't think anyone apart from a lawyer would say that either Airtec or SSK had done anything to contribute to the fatality. The AAD worked as designed i.e. it fired at the correct altitude its just that it had nothing to cut as the reserve loop wasn't in the correct place.

As has been said before on DZ.com this is a case of lawyers chasing compensation no matter who was directly involved.

This is similar to the case in Ca where the mother has sued Airtec over the death of her daughter where the Cypre fired but the jumper still impacted without a reserve deployed. It's similar in that the cases are based on the premise that the Cypres will deploy a canopy, which is not the case, the Cypres only cuts the loop which is no guarantee of a reserve deployment.

The end result is that Airtec cannot be held responsible for the non-deployment of a reserve when they're not in the reserve deployment business. If the case was that the Cypres somehow intervened and prevented a reserve deployment (ala Argus), then they might have a point, but as it sits, they have none.

It's a matter of throwing out the biggest net they can, and seeing what they can catch. I'm surprised they haven't also included the rig manufacturer, canopy manufacturer, jumpmaster, etc.


DBCOOPER  (D 24112)

Jun 20, 2011, 6:30 AM
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Re: [davelepka] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

I hope that they have a good wavier and its enforced.


diablopilot  (D License)

Jun 20, 2011, 6:58 AM
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Re: [sacex250] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

Please don't ever jump anywhere close to me. There is and always will be only one person ever responsible for the death in this situation, and that's the person who failed to activate their own parachute in a timely manner.


Southern_Man  (C License)

Jun 20, 2011, 7:21 AM
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Re: [theonlyski] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
This becomes the weak link in the chain because Cypres checks itself whenever it's turned on, but the cutter and closing loop are only checked every six months, by someone other than the jumper.

This upsets me... I am more than willing to have someone watch and help with an I&R for no extra fees, and I may even buy pizza for them. Most jumpers don't give a flying f HOW the gear works, they just want you to do it for them. Mad

Going after the dz... still doesn't seem right in my eyes. I don't care if it was dz gear, or if the rigger owned half the dz, it was a rigging error, not a dz error.

Generally I'm on your side but just to play devil's advocate (i.e. lawyer): The DZ selected a rigger, employed the rigger, and paid the rigger. What if (Hypothetical but could come out in discovery) the rigger had a history of rigging errors that the DZ knew about and they continued to employ him anyway? If may be easier to take depositions and discover some of that stuff if the DZ is named in the original suit.

Practically it is probably just a matter of naming everybody and trying to get settlements from the deepest pockets. Our legal system is an ugly beast.


Skydivesg  (D 10938)

Jun 20, 2011, 7:29 AM
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Re: [diablopilot] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

If I were the DZO I would sue the student's estate for the student's failure to fulfill his promise (contract) to pull (initiate the emergency procedures resulting in the reserve deployment process) in a timely maner as stated and promised during the training.


AndyMan  (D 25698)

Jun 20, 2011, 7:52 AM
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In reply to:
Please don't ever jump anywhere close to me. There is and always will be only one person ever responsible for the death in this situation, and that's the person who failed to activate their own parachute in a timely manner.

This thread is about a lawsuit, lawyers trying to get money from a plaintiff. Opinions about risk of skydiving within the skydiving community is completely irrelevant, because if this ever gets to trial, the odds of any skydiver being on the jury is essentially zero.

I hope you never have to explain your opinions of risk to a whuffo judge or jury. If you did, I predict you would lose badly.

I'm not surprised about much in this lawsuit. Pretty much every time a student dies, you can assume the lawyers will come calling, and no matter how it works out, you can assume that it will cost a lot of money. Also, you can assume that every person that is remotely associated will be included. The DZ, the DZO, the rigger, the pilot, aircraft owner, the instructors, and especially the manufacturers. Why the manufacturers? They've got deep pockets. Depending on how the DZ is setup too, the DZ may have assets worth perusing too.

Arguing about who "should" or "should not" be included in a lawsuit is just plain dumb. The only reasonable answer is that "everyone" should, and then the lawyers and jury can figure out the details.

This also means, "everyone" has a strong role in playing in making sure everything is done in a way that reduces the risk of lawsuits.

What surprises me about this lawsuit is the people that weren't included. It appears that no instructors are named, and no pilot either. I am curious about the incident, I wonder if this role was played by someone else who's already named.

_Am


wildcard451  (D License)

Jun 20, 2011, 8:06 AM
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Re: [AndyMan] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Please don't ever jump anywhere close to me. There is and always will be only one person ever responsible for the death in this situation, and that's the person who failed to activate their own parachute in a timely manner.

This thread is about a lawsuit, lawyers trying to get money from a plaintiff. Opinions about risk of skydiving within the skydiving community is completely irrelevant, because if this ever gets to trial, the odds of any skydiver being on the jury is essentially zero.

But the discussion may freely revolve around the legitimacy of the lawsuit - which from a skydiver's standpoint is bullshit. I do agree with you that these scumbag fucking lawyers go after everyone with any money, or potential to have money. This is one of the reasons I gave up my instructors rating.

While no jumper may sit on the jury, I certainly hope "expert" witnesses will be called. It just sickens me that they will be able pay someone to say that the DZ is at fault for this.Unsure


DiverMike  (C 40024)

Jun 20, 2011, 8:09 AM
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Re: [AndyMan] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

The main person who was negligent in this was the rigger who didn't route the loop through the cutter. Chances are, he doesn't have deep enough pockets to sue.


AndyMan  (D 25698)

Jun 20, 2011, 8:09 AM
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Re: [wildcard451] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
While no jumper may sit on the jury, I certainly hope "expert" witnesses will be called. It just sickens me that they will be able pay someone to say that the DZ is at fault for this.

Finding such an expert would not be difficult at all. After an accident at Aerohio where the instructor failed to tighten the passenger tandem harness, I understand Mike turoff testified the fault was with the Strong Tandem system.

Mike a well respected skydiving expert and author.

_Am


wildcard451  (D License)

Jun 20, 2011, 8:26 AM
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Re: [DiverMike] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The main person who was negligent in this was the rigger who didn't route the loop through the cutter. Chances are, he doesn't have deep enough pockets to sue.

No, the main person who was negligent was the student that didn't pull.

Not routing the loop properly didn't kill anyone. It may have prevented the Cypres from being able to have the chance to deploy the reserve cut the loop to give the reserve a chance to deploy, but it didn't kill anyone.

Had the rigger misrigged it in a way that pulling the reserve handle caused a reserve total, then I could see you having a case.

//Edited due to poor original wording.


(This post was edited by wildcard451 on Jun 20, 2011, 10:07 AM)


sacex250

Jun 20, 2011, 9:26 AM
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Re: [theonlyski] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
This upsets me... I am more than willing to have someone watch and help with an I&R for no extra fees, and I may even buy pizza for them. Most jumpers don't give a flying f HOW the gear works, they just want you to do it for them.

Going after the dz... still doesn't seem right in my eyes. I don't care if it was dz gear, or if the rigger owned half the dz, it was a rigging error, not a dz error.
The DZ, or any business, is always going to be held vicariously liable for the actions of its staff.

It's a worst case scenario for the DZ: student jumper (11th or 12th jump), rented equipment, safety device that functioned correctly but for improper rigging, and the rigger is one of the DZ owners.

For Airtec, it's the usual product liability lawsuit with the one plus for them is that their device didn't actually malfunction. I don't think the DZ should be expecting much help here from Airtec since they probably want to add .5 onto their save total on the website.

I'm sure SSK, Vandalia Airport, and the Vandalia Park District have nothing to worry about.


charlie5  (A 62022)

Jun 20, 2011, 9:28 AM
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Re: [wildcard451] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

Was the student relying on the cypres to deploy for him instead of him initiating it himself?

Students are taught to be proactive correct?

(even though I've seen a clip of an experienced diver waiting for the cypres to deploy for him about 3 seconds from death) found link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQmIu_mQ04o


(This post was edited by charlie5 on Jun 20, 2011, 9:30 AM)


sacex250

Jun 20, 2011, 9:36 AM
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Re: [wildcard451] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
No, the main person who was negligent was the student that didn't pull.

Not routing the loop properly didn't kill anyone. It may have prevented the Cypres from being able to have the chance to deploy the reserve, but it didn't kill anyone.

Had the rigger misrigged it in a way that pulling the reserve handle caused a reserve total, then I could see you having a case.
Oh, there's a case; and I can guarantee that no one who feels the same way about this as you do will be allowed anywhere near the jury box. If you happen to get called up for this jury panel then you can consider yourself "thanked and excused" as the plaintiff's counsel boots you out of the courtroom; there won't be any need for any skydivers on this jury.


nebug  (C 7042)

Jun 20, 2011, 9:41 AM
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Re: [davelepka] Airchway Skydiving Sued [In reply to] Can't Post

QUOTE: It's a matter of throwing out the biggest net they can, and seeing what they can catch. I'm surprised they haven't also included the rig manufacturer, canopy manufacturer, jumpmaster, etc.

Very sad. My previous experience with lawyers (My divorce) is that many are typically ruthless and not really concerned with facts in their claims in order to achieve their objective.

[Following is hearsay] I heard that the previous owner of the airport where I jump was once sued many years ago for putting gas in a transient aircraft that later fatally crashed in a weather accident.

[Just my opinion]
The lawyers may be holding back the other potential defendants for a later lawsuit if this one doesn't work out for their client. Also SSK may be named for the reason it would pressure SSK to testify accusing the rigger of gross negligence. Same with the other apparently unconnected defendants. SSK may not be their target at all.


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