Over Three Decades of Commercial Aviation Experience
Kenai Peninsula Alaska Mid-Air Collision (Soldotna, Alaska – July 31, 2020) Rapoport Weisberg & Sims, P.C. has filed a federal lawsuit in Alaska District Court on behalf of the family of a young woman killed when the for-hire charter plane on which she was a passenger collided with a small airplane above Soldotna, Alaska. All seven aboard both aircraft were killed. The crash remains under investigation, but FAA radar and transponder data indicate the two aircraft collided at approximately 1,175 feet, resulting in the break-up of the de Havilland DHC-2 float plane and crash of the Piper PA-12.
Ketchikan Alaska Mid-Air Collision (George Inlet, Alaska – May 13, 2019) Rapoport Weisberg & Sims, P.C. is currently representing the family of a young woman killed when two sightseeing float-planes collided in mid-air near Ketchikan, Alaska. The crash remains under investigation, but preliminary reports indicate the mid-air collision occurred at approximately 3,000 feet and resulted in the break-up of the DHC-2 aircraft and crash landing of the DHC-3 into water.
Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (Ethiopia – March 10, 2019) Rapoport Weisberg & Sims, P.C. attorneys David Rapoport and Matthew Sims are currently serving on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 litigation. The crash remains under investigation, but preliminary reports indicate serious design flaws in the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft played the primary role in the crash.
US Airways Flight 1702 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – March 13, 2014) A settlement in a case involving an Airbus A320 aircraft, subject to confidentiality, was reached on the only case poised to go to trial where two injured passengers were represented by attorneys David Rapoport and Matthew Sims, after a series of cascading cockpit errors left a flight crew rushing to takeoff with a mis-programmed flight computer. The improperly configured flight computer was diagnosed by the pilot after the takeoff started, but instead of aborting the takeoff, the pilot decided to proceed into danger, ultimately crashing the airplane just short of the Delaware River.
Dana Air Flight 992 (Lagos, Nigeria – June 3, 2012) Attorneys David Rapoport and Matthew Sims represented 20 families in the loss of loved ones after an MD-83 operated by Dana Air suffered a dual loss of engine power, compounded by a crew’s failure to follow designated checklists, resulting in the aircraft crashing short of the airport in Lagos, Nigeria. Almost all of the deceased resided outside of the United States, although confidential settlements were reached on behalf of the families in the United States.
Delta Connection Flight 5191 (Lexington, Kentucky – August 27, 2006) A $7.1 million record-setting jury verdict was reached in this case after the pilots of a CRJ-100ER operating as a Delta Connection Flight overran a runway on takeoff at Lexington Bluegrass Airport resulting in 49 fatalities. David Rapoport was the lead trial lawyer for the only passenger whose case was tried to verdict, resulting in the record-setting result.
The jury verdict, returned in December of 2009, is believed to be the most recent jury verdict in a commercial air disaster wrongful death case to be tried in the United States. In post-verdict proceedings, Judge Forrester of the United States Federal Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, who presided over the trial of Delta Connection Flight 5191, stated:
“Throughout the three years that Mr. Rapoport represented [the plaintiff], this Court observed his thorough preparation, his strong advocacy, and his noteworthy trial skills. Based on this Court’s observations, Rapoport was overwhelmingly responsible for the $7.1 million Plaintiffs’ verdict. The $5 million loss of consortium verdict for the teenage children was record setting… The Court had the opportunity to observe Mr. Rapoport personally on a number of occasions, including the damages trial. His skills in selecting and presenting the evidence and his handling of the unique, all-male jury were among the best this Court has seen in over twenty years on the bench.”
Hebert v. Comair (In re Air Crash), 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63987.
Air Midwest/U.S. Airways Express Flight 5481 (Charlotte, North Carolina – January 8, 2003) A settlement, subject to confidentiality, was reached in this case in which David Rapoport served as the lead trial lawyer representing the family of the co-pilot who was killed when the Beech 1900 aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
American Airlines Flight 587 (Belle Harbor/Queens, New York – November 12, 2001). The firm represented the family of the first officer in this case resulting from the crash of an Airbus A300-600 shortly after take-off from New York’s Kennedy International Airport. The case was a product liability case against Airbus based on the design of a rudder system that sheared off of the aircraft as the first officer attempted to maneuver through wake turbulence. All 251 passengers, the crew of nine and five people on the ground were killed.
Big Island Airlines Flight 57 (Hilo Bay, Hawaii – August 25, 2000). David Rapoport represented the family of a woman killed when Big Island Airlines Flight 57 was intentionally ditched into the Pacific Ocean by its pilot after one of the airplane’s engines caught fire and was shut down. The pilot, who survived the airplane crash, claimed that the aircraft would not climb, or even maintain level flight, after he shut down and feathered the failed engine. The case was prosecuted in United States federal court in California against numerous defendants, including the manufacturers of certain engine component parts.
EgyptAir Flight 990 (Nantucket Island, Massachusetts – October 31, 1999). David E. Rapoport was a member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Steering Committee and lead trial lawyer for the families of four of the deceased victims whose cases were trial in New York federal court. The case arose from the crash of a Boeing 767 airplane into the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Nantucket Island, while in route from New York to Cairo. All 217 people aboard perished.
American Airlines Flight 1420 (Little Rock, Arkansas – June 1, 1999). As a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in this airplane crash case, David E. Rapoport served as lead counsel obtained a $14 million aggregate settlement for the victims and families that the firm represented. The terms of each individual settlement are confidential. Of the 145 crew and passengers on board the MD-82 aircraft, 11 died.
Swissair Flight 111 (Nova Scotia – September 2, 1998). David Rapoport served as a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in this case litigated in United States federal court in Philadelphia, and as lead counsel for numerous victims’ families who all resided outside of the United States. A $13 million aggregate settlement was obtained for the victim’s families the firm represented. The terms of each individual settlement are confidential. All 229 people aboard the MD-11 airplane perished when it crashed off the coast of Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia while in route from New York to Geneva.
United Express Flight 5925 (Quincy, Illinois – November 19, 1996). David Rapoport represented the family of a pilot who died in this Beech 1900C airplane crash after it collided with another aircraft during landing. The case was tried to a jury and the firm obtained a $3 million jury verdict.
USAir Flight 1016 (Charlotte, North Carolina, July 2, 1994). David Rapoport was lead trial attorney in the liability phase of the trial on behalf of the families of 37 victims who died in the crash of a DC-9 aircraft. The liability phase of the trial took place over 6 weeks. Despite the United States government admitting that the air traffic controllers were at fault, and US Air using that admission to argue it could not be blamed for the crash, a jury nevertheless returned a liability verdict in favor of all victims’ families. Following the jury’s finding of fault against US Air, a $10 million aggregate settlement was reached on behalf of the victims’ families represented by Mr. Rapoport.
American Eagle Flight 3379 (Morrisville, North Carolina – December 13, 1994). Mr. Rapoport was a member of the Lead Counsel Committee in multi-district litigation arising from the crash of a British Aerospace Jetstream aircraft. The case was tried on the issues of American Airlines and AMR Eagle, Inc.’s liability for the conduct of the Flagship Airlines’ crew as it related to the crash, as well as on damages. The verdict exceeded the highest offer from the airline by three fold.
USAir Flight 405 (LaGuardia Airport, New York – March 22, 1992). Mr. Rapoport obtained an $8.1 million verdict in the first damages case tried arising out of the crash of a Fokker 28 aircraft which slid off the runway at LaGuardia Airport. This verdict set a record in Ohio at the time.
United Airlines 585 (Colorado Springs, Colorado – March 3, 1991). Mr. Rapoport represented the family of one of the pilots in a product liability claim against The Boeing Company after a Boeing 737 suffered a rudder hardover while on final approach, causing the plane to roll over and enter an uncontrolled dive. There were no survivors. The matter was resolved on a confidential basis against Boeing.
United Flight 232 (Sioux City, Iowa – July 19, 1989). Mr. Rapoport was selected as lead trial attorney in the consolidated federal cases arising from this DC-10 airplane crash. The firm represented eight crew members and one passenger, each of whom survived the crash but suffered serious personal injuries after a GE turbofan engine failed mid-flight, resulting in the loss of all hydraulic function in the aircraft.
United Flight 811 (Hawaii – February 24, 1989). Mr. Rapoport represented the three pilots in this case against The Boeing Company involving the failure of a cargo door on a Boeing 747 aircraft, causing explosive decompression at 23,000 feet off the coast of Hawaii. The case was eventually settled for an amount that is confidential.