Robinson Helicopter Company, Inc. is the lone defendant in a trial which began in Brisbane, Australia on Thursday, September 13th (Supreme Court of Queensland, Number S 4573/07). The plaintiffs in this case, Graham and Juanita McDermott, originally retained the law firm of Owen, Patterson & Owen to prosecute this case in California due to the location of Robinson’s headquarters in Los Angeles County. The original complaint was filed on May 4, 2006 in the Los Angeles Superior Court. Currently proceeding in the Supreme Court of Queensland, the trial is expected to last 14 days. The justice presiding over the trial has ordered that the case be bifurcated. If successful on liability, the damage phase will begin sometime thereafter. Due to Mr. McDermott’s severe injuries, he was no longer able to operate his 1.5 million acre cattle ranch. It is anticipated that Mr. McDermott’s economic loss will be very substantial.
A brief summary on the facts of the case are as follows:
Mr. McDermott achieved his success as a cattle rancher through hard work and a great business sense, and owned 1.5 million acres prior to his accident. Due to the size of his ranch, Mr. McDermott utilized a helicopter to check the property’s fence lines and muster cattle. He hired a certified and licensed pilot to fly his Robinson model RC22 helicopter. Thirty minutes into the flight, the helicopter crashed, and upon impact the fuel tank broke open and ignited a fire. Mr. McDermott suffered severe burns on his body.
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What began as a very technical case has been streamlined by the senior barrister representing McDermott to an issue that any layperson could understand. The plaintiffs contend that had the maintenance manual set out the proper procedures for mechanics to maintain a component part, referred to as a flex plate, the accident would not have occurred.
Attorney Greg Owen said, “Graham is the grittiest, toughest and most honest man I have ever met. He and his family loved the challenges that came with living in one of the world’s most dangerous environments, the Australian Outback. This crash has taken all of that from him.”
“It is our understanding that there are lawsuits throughout the world involving Robinson Helicopter”, Owen states. “The information obtained through this trial will be important to prevent future accidents involving Robinson helicopters. It will also be very useful to other lawyers who are pursuing cases on behalf of other injured victims against Robinson Helicopter.”
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a Robinson Helicopter crash contact or call our law office at 800-676-5295.