0
peek

John Desantis/Michael Hawkes lawsuit

Recommended Posts

From December 2004 Skydiving Magazine,
"Maybe You've Heard" column

USPA [National] Director John DeSantis recently settled the lawsuit former DZ owner Michael Hawkes files against him (Skydiving #272).

Hawkes sued DeSantis last year over his role in an earlier lawsuit spawned by a fatal 1998 accident at Hawkes Nevada DZ.

DeSantis gave the plaintiffs in that suit more than 200 pages of sensitive documents he had accumulated on Hawkes while serving on the USPA Board [Western Regional Director].

The association's [USPA's] insurers paid DeSantis' defense and paid the settlement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

DeSantis gave the plaintiffs in that suit more than 200 pages of sensitive documents he had accumulated on Hawkes while serving on the USPA Board [Western Regional Director].

The association's [USPA's] insurers paid DeSantis' defense and paid the settlement.



WHAT?! Our dues paid for his legal fees, paid the settlement and everything after he gave away documents that he was'nt even to have in the first place? :o>:(

Then he's running for the BOD again this election? :o How the hell did he reelected in the last election?
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote


Then he's running for the BOD again this election? How the hell did he reelected in the last election?



The answer is fairly simply.

People trust John DeSantis.

In my opinion it's trust that is well deserved. The man works hard for skydivers and isn't beholding to any company or drop zone.

Tell me how many other people that applies to on the BOD.
quade -
The World's Most Boring Skydiver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Would someone care to update us new jumpers on what the lawsuit was about? I've serched the forums for Desantis' name and can only surmise that he happily turned a bunch of documents over to someone suing a DZ, then was paid to testify against said DZ. What was the issue, what did the documents say, why shouldn't he have had them etc.?
---------------------------------------------------------------
There is a fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness'.
--Dave Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

DeSantis gave the plaintiffs in that suit more than 200 pages of sensitive documents he had accumulated on Hawkes while serving on the USPA Board [Western Regional Director].



and....

Quote

People trust John DeSantis.



People are sheep.
----------------------------------------------
You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A much better place to look this up at is Rec.skydiving in the archives. I had completly forgot about this stuff till now...

Taken from the USPA Safety and Training Advisor Handbook: (PAge 8-9)


USPA POLICY REGARDING PROPRIETARY
AND PRIVILEGED INFORMATION
BACKGROUND
The success of USPA’s safety reporting program depends
upon the free exchange of information between field
reporters [e.g., S& TAs] and USPA Headquarters.
As long as reporting officials believe that the information
will be used only for statistical and educational purposes
and that the reports themselves will not be released to third
parties, the reporting system will continue to serve the best
interests of the membership as a whole.
If, on the other hand, this privileged information is
released to third parties for whatever reason, USPA will
lose the trust of the field reporters and, with it, valuable
safety-generating data.
POLICY
USPA incident and accident reports, whether formal
or informal, will be considered privileged, confidential
documents for use only by the reporting party and USPA
officials as necessary to enhance safety through education
and training.
Any and all requests by third parties to access such
information or documents will be referred to the USPA
Executive Director, who, in consultation with the USPA
President, will determine the need to refer to counsel.
Failure to adhere to these procedures will subject the
violating USPA member to disciplinary action in
accordance with Section 1-6 of the USPA Governance
Manual.


The Executive Director Chris Needels should have been the one to make the decision after consulting with the BOD to turn the documents over and not a BOD member.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'll try to find out. Suffice to say, it was an improper release of information allegedly because Desantis had a grudge with Hawkes, and used the Papadato incident to harm him.

One of the most disapointing things about all of this is that and impeachment vote against Desantis was successful. The USPA BOD chose instead of removing him from office to slap him on the wrist behind closed doors

Edit to add, Hawkes is/was a DZO I would not suport, especialy the way his DZ treated sport jumpers post lawsuit, but he had every right to expect fair treatment from an agency he was a member of. BTW, AFAIK Hawkes never counter sued USPA for damages, just Desantis.
----------------------------------------------
You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I suppose it's a matter of semantics, but ISPA was a) not named in the suit IIRC, and b) Desantis acted outside his duties as a USPA board member.


I'm just pissed I paid (as well as all other USPA members) for his defense and monumental deriliction of duty, AND that he still has the job.
----------------------------------------------
You're not as good as you think you are. Seriously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thats it... I knew that he was only seeking damages of $1 because he was doing it to clear his name and to make a point. If he wanted to he could have severly hit the USPA in the pocketbook. Losing the lawsuit should make the members question who they vote for this year at election time.

Remember ballots are due to the USPA by Dec 31!!!
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Would someone care to update us new jumpers on what the lawsuit was about? I've serched the forums for Desantis' name and can only surmise that he happily turned a bunch of documents over to someone suing a DZ, then was paid to testify against said DZ. What was the issue, what did the documents say, why shouldn't he have had them etc.?



Check [url "http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=151531;search_string=Hawkes;#151531"]this thread from 2002[url].

ltdiver

Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

A much better place to look this up at is Rec.skydiving in the archives.



Uhg . . . checked rec-dot . . . that was no fun.

Can somebody please explain to me what Desantis was trying to accomplish? I'm trying to be open-minded here, but it seems pretty indefensible. If the dz had lost, it could have been disastrous for the sport. What exactly was in those documents besides the incident reports?

Edit:
Thanks Lori, that helped some more. I didn't find it earlier because I only searched on Desantis' name.
---------------------------------------------------------------
There is a fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness'.
--Dave Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well I am not Upset that the USPA defended him. I AM upset he was not removed for a clear violation of his job duties for a personal grudge.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote


By suing DeSantis he was suing USPA.
Does anyone know what reports or documents, if any, were released or is it all, "he said, I heard, I know someone who said" shit.



The bottom line in all this is WE the Members of the USPA got sued by Michael Hawkes because JOHN DeSANTIS acted outside the RULES of OUR association.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Well I am not Upset that the USPA defended him. I AM upset he was not removed for a clear violation of his job duties for a personal grudge.




Were the reports given by DeSantis to the plaintiffs factually incorrect? Is anyone disputing what violations may have been listed in those reports? People want to jump John's case but is it worse what Mike was doing?

I have two jump plane accident reports from Skydive Las Vegas that pretty much indicate that the pilots were not trained properly on those jump planes. Why doesn't anyone clamore about what Mike was doing? Maybe there was a real need to make all things known so a dangerous operation was put out of business? So the rest of us wouldn't have to worry about future tarnishing of our sport? Maybe John was acting as a whistle blower and wasn't getting help from USPA HQ. I don't know. But before I condem John I think more info needs to come out about what was handed over and who knew what and when.
Chris Schindler
www.diverdriver.com
ATP/D-19012
FB #4125

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I have two jump plane accident reports from Skydive Las Vegas that pretty much indicate that the pilots were not trained properly on those jump planes. Why doesn't anyone clamore about what Mike was doing?



Oh, most of us would not piss on Mike if he was on fire.

However, a LEADER in OUR organization gave confidential information to a lawyer WITHOUT approval in what looks like a method to hurt a guy he did not like.

It was in NOWAY DeSantis's job to do that.

If the USPA voted on it, or was ordered by the courts to release that info it would have been fine by me.

But we had a maverick member doing what he wanted to do. Many think for personal reasons.

I do not cry for Mike, but if DeSantis did it once he could do it again.

The USPA needed to punish him, but they did nothing.
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." -- Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson Papers, 334

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

most of us would not piss on Mike if he was on fire


I certainly wouldn't -- I'd have to get way too close for safety :P

But yup, he went outside the bounds of what he can do. I'm sort of assuming he was willing to take whatever consequences because he thought this was an important enough matter to go beyond normal legal and ethical boundaries. That it was personal makes it worse.

That consequence was bullshit.

Wendy W.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's free!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
0