How Do You Defend When the Plaintiffs Were Injured Trying to Rescue A Lost Young Girl? And Win Twice?
LEE, et al. v. Hughes Helicopters, Texarkana, Texas
A police helicopter being used to search the East Texas swamps for a lost girl crashed when the aircraft’s transmission seized. The accident caused crippling injuries to two officers, leaving them paraplegics. Their lawyer sued Hughes Helicopters, manufacturer of the helicopter that originally had been built for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. This model helicopter had a history of transmission failure in military use during the war, and that history was the focus of the plaintiffs’ case.
Rose asserted that the local police force had cut corners in restoring the surplus helicopter, and that those actions caused the transmission failure. The case was tried before a federal court jury, and Mr. Rose obtained a defense verdict. The verdict was reversed on appeal and tried a second time. Again, a verdict was returned for the defense despite sympathy for the two officers