Cockpit Voice Recorder Audio Evidence is Centrally Important in Civil Litigation and Discoverable under 49 U.S.C. § 1154: The Flight 1702 Example

2019

Document: Cockpit Voice Recorder Audio Evidence is Centrally Important in Civil Litigation and Discoverable under 49 U.S.C. § 1154: The Flight 1702 Example

By David E. Rapoport and Matthew S. Sims

Written in 2019 and published in Issues in Aviation Law and Policy, this article takes an in-depth look at the history of federal laws that govern the use of cockpit voice recorders (CVRs) in commercial aviation litigation. Prior to 1990, much of the contents of CVRs were available to attorneys representing the families of aviation disaster victims and even the general public. However, in 1990, Congress passed legislation that shrouded the entirety of the contents of CVRs in secrecy from the public, and even attorneys representing victims’ families. The authors demonstrate how this law has become dated as society’s expectations of privacy have changed, and that aviation safety favors the access to and dissemination of what transpired in the cockpit, in order to avoid future air disasters.

Published 2019, CCH INCORPORATED. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted