• May 29, 2013

The complaint in lawsuit arising from the tragic death of Luke Bucklin and his sons, Nick and Nate from an October, 2010 small plane crash in Wyoming is a mere five pages long.

That would not seem too onerous to proof-read but it seems to have slipped plaintiff’s counsel’s notice that the October 16, 2012 complaint alleges that the plane took off on October 25, 2012 and crashed on October 25, 2010.

But that’s nit-picking of course.  Lawyers are not hired (and never should not be hired) based on their proof-reading skills.  It’s about results.  How will plaintiff’s counsel do in this case?

It is way beyond my expertise in this area of the law to make any prediction of any kind and there seems to be a critical factual dispute on just who was responsible for the small plane’s change in flight plan that seems to have been determined to be the root cause of the disaster.  But the case reminds me of the Boogaard post from Minnesota Litigator yesterday.

Here we have, on the one hand, a small plane pilot.  That is, we have someone who knowingly took personal responsibility for his safety and the safety of his sons by piloting them in a small plane.

And on the other hand, we have a licensing system, an air traffic control system, an highly developed system of aviation regulation.   Who was responsible for the changed flight plan that, apparently, did not allow Bucklin sufficient altitude to get over the Rocky Mountains and who should be financially responsible for this terrible loss to the Bucklin family?

Did the system fail Bucklin or was Bucklin solely responsible for this accident? Or does blame and should blame fall somewhere in between?

The case has recently entered into mediation.  It is likely we, the public, will never know enough of the complex details to reach a conclusion but we can all surely hope for closure, recovery, and, if the system can be improved to avoid this kind of tragedy going forward, that it will be.

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