Survivor of helicopter crash sues for $12 million

Michelle Keahey Feb. 21, 2012, 2:42am

NEW ORLEANS - A survivor of a helicopter crash has filed a lawsuit for $12 million arguing that the crash was a result of an improperly maintained helicopter and a careless pilot.

Ferris Clark Sr. filed suit against PHI Inc., Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., and Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty AG on Feb. 13 in federal court in New Orleans.

The helicopter crash occurred on March 24, 2011 as Clark was being transported from an offshore platform.

According to the lawsuit, after the helicopter had lifted off from the platform and entered the airspace above the Gulf of Mexico, it began to spin and lose altitude, eventually crashing into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The helicopter was situated upside down in the water and Clark was initially trapped by his seat belt.

Clark states that it was only with great difficulty that he was able to escape the cabin of the helicopter.

The helicopter at issue was a Bell manufactured 206L-3 helicopter, N32041.

Defendant PHI is accused of negligence for failing to properly inspect, maintain and service the helicopter, for operating a helicopter that was unfit for use and which failed to keep rotor effectiveness, for failing to have adequately train, instruct, and supervise employees, for employing a pilot who operated the helicopter in an unsafe, carless and reckless manner, and for failing to conduct regular and periodic checks on employees.

Defendant Bell Helicopter Textron is accused of negligence for manufacturing an unreasonably dangerous product, failing to have adequate operating guidelines, instructions and warnings, and for manufacturing a product which does not conform to the express warranty of the manufacturer.

The plaintiff is asking the court for damages for medical expenses, lost wages, income, earning capacity and employment related benefits, physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, inconvenience, embarrassment, humiliation, loss of ability to pursue happiness and personality change, interest, and court costs.

Clark is represented by Stanley J. Jacobs and Jodi Jacobs Aamodt of Jacobs, Manuel, Kain & Aamodt of New Orleans and Philip F. Cossich Jr. and Darren D. Sumich of Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola & Taylor in Belle Chasse.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-00411

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