Multiple suits filed in Thomson plane crash, based on reports

Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 10:40 PM
Last updated Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 11:53 AM
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Almost seven months after a fiery plane crash at the Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport killed five members of The Vein Guys staff, families of the deceased have filed civil suits over the accident.

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Ambulances gather at the old Georgia State Patrol post in Thomson near the scene of a plane crash near the Thomson-McDuffie County Airport.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Ambulances gather at the old Georgia State Patrol post in Thomson near the scene of a plane crash near the Thomson-McDuffie County Airport.

Among the defendants named in the suit are the airport’s operators, the city of Thomson and McDuffie County and the estate of Vein Guys co-owner Dr. Steven Roth, who died in the crash.

According to the Daily Report, which covers Georgia legal news, lawsuits were filed for four of the five passengers on Sept. 9 with Fulton County Superior Court against as many as a dozen defendants claiming their negligence led to the Feb. 20 accident. The crash also injured pilots of the Beechcraft 390 Premier 1 owned by Roth’s Pavilion Group LLC.

The crash, still under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, occurred at about 8 p.m. when the plane aborted a landing, went airborne at the end of the runway, and then hit the top of a 60-foot-tall concrete utility pole. The plane’s left wing was sheared off causing a fuel leak, leading to the aircraft catching fire and crashing in a wooded area, the NTSB has said.

In addition to Roth, employees Kim Davidson, Heidi McCorkle, Tiffany Porter and Lisa Volpitto were killed, and pilots Richard Trammell and Jeremy Hayden were injured. The crew was returning to Thomson from a vascular surgery practice in Nashville, Tenn.

The Daily Report stated that survivors of Volpitto, McCorkle, Porter and Davidson are suing Georgia Power and parent company, Southern Company Services; the city of Thomson and McDuffie County, which jointly owned and operated the airport; Milliken & Co., owner of the Kingsley Plant at the end of the runway that had granted easement for the power pole; Spirit Aviation, the airport’s operator; and The Sky’s The Limit doing business as Executive Shuttle, which was owned by Trammell and employed both pilots. Three suits also named as defendants the Pavilion Group and the executor of Roth’s estate, Mary Anne Roth, his widow.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of McCorkle, obtained by The Augusta Chronicle, alleges that the utility pole the plane hit was too tall and inappropriately lit and the transmission lines were too high. The document states that allowing trees to be planted in the airport’s “safe zone” was negligent.

The suit also finds fault in the proper maintenance and service of the privately-owned plane.

Defendants including the Pavilion Group, Roth and the two pilots also are alleged to have enabled “impaired,” “unqualified,” or “inadequately trained pilots” to operate the plane.

Attorneys Nicholas Moraitakis, of Atlanta, and David Bell, of Augusta, were listed as representing McCorkle’s estate. McCorkle was an ultrasound technician at The Vein Guys, a regional company that provided minimally invasive vein procedures.

According to the Daily Report, Augusta lawyer William Fletcher is representing Roth’s estate.

Copies of a notice sent by McCorkle’s lawyers to the city of Thomson and McDuffie County show they are seeking a $7 million wrongful death claim and a $3 million estate claim.

THE BACK STORY

THOMSON PLANE CRASH

BACKGROUND: Kim Davidson, Heidi McCorkle, Tiffany Porter, Steven Roth and Lisa Volpitto, who worked with The Vein Guys, died in a Feb. 20 plane crash at Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport. Two pilots were injured.

DEVELOPMENTS: Lawsuits were filed earlier this month by survivors of four of the five passengers. Defendants include Roth’s estate.

THE INVESTIGATION: The National Transportation Safety Board recovered two recording devices in April and is investigating the crash.

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myfather15
49742
Points
myfather15 09/20/13 - 01:34 pm
5
1
"And the temperature of the

"And the temperature of the coffee was estimated by burn experts to be pretty damn hot."

Is "pretty damn hot" a technical term? I could be wrong, but I believe COFFEE is supposed to be served hot! I drink two cups EVERY morning, to help me wake up. Many times; I've gotten a cup, took a small sip and it burnt my lips and tip of my tongue because it was so hot. I'm quite sure, this same cup of coffee, if spilled on my lap, would cause excruciating pain; especially on that sensitive area.

It's just hard to imagine a person ordering coffee and NOT expecting it to be pretty darn hot. Then it gets spill on them and they decide to sue; just doesn't sound right and FAR worse than this lawsuit we are talking about.

LocalLawyer
317
Points
LocalLawyer 09/20/13 - 01:39 pm
4
0
myfather15, this trial will

myfather15, this trial will probably take 2 years and hundreds of hours to complete. I don't know who filed it, but usually they will negotiate a 33% contingency if it settles out of court and then 40% if it goes to trial. It could be years before they see any $ for their time. They also have no idea if they will win anything at all, so it is a risky proposition (somewhat) to begin with. Would your doctor perform surgery for free and only get paid if it was successful? Would you work for free or at a rate much lower than what your profit margin may actually be. They have employees too ya know?
LittleLamb (one of my faves), not everyone can afford life insurance or ever imagined it being necessary. Let's not assume they had it, and if they didn't have it, let's not blame them for not purchasing it.

Little Lamb
43836
Points
Little Lamb 09/20/13 - 01:47 pm
5
1
Blame

If you cannot blame someone for not purchasing insurance, then you shouldn't blame someone else for setting a power pole. It's tit for tat.

myfather15
49742
Points
myfather15 09/20/13 - 01:49 pm
3
1
I don't disagree with this

I don't disagree with this lawsuit, because lawsuit's are sometimes what it takes to actually find out what happened.

In law enforcement, we don't use the word "accident"; we use the word CRASH!! Accident infers it was unavoidable, not by design or no fault. In that aspect, there is no such thing as an "accident" because there is ALWAYS someone at fault. If a vehicle (plane, car, etc.) is driven the proper way, there will not be a crash. Texting, driving while sleepy, speeding, following to close, adjusting radio, talking to passengers, spilling coffee in your lap and ENDLESS more; are always contributing factors. Mechanical failures can also cause crashes, but there is still someone at fault; whether that be the owner who hasn't kept up the maintenance on the vehicle or the mechanic; who didn't properly fix something; or manufacturer who installed defective equipment.

Bottom line is; Yes, I believe SOMEONE is at fault for the plane crash. Probably the pilot, but as Locallawyer said; they do have to list EVERYONE who MIGHT have some responsibility and they will be ruled out through the process of elimination.

It just eats me up that in MANY cases; the lawyer's who are NOT suffering emotional pain, financial problems, get almost as big a share as the families. If it's a legitimate lawsuit, the victim's families SHOULD get the lions share. But lawyer's KNOW the families NEED them and they ALL charge close to the same amount for their services; which is approximately 40%; some lower and some higher. But what can the family do about it, when the other lawyers are charging the same amount?

myfather15
49742
Points
myfather15 09/20/13 - 02:13 pm
4
1
locallawyer

Yes, I realize the hours put into it; as I have done some part-time investigation for a local attorney on civil cases; I was paid $20.00 an hour.

I also realize how long it takes; because my wife's family is involved in a wrongful death lawsuit against a hospital, where their mother was given morphine after a surgery; when it was clear on her admittance paper's that she was allergic to morphine. She made it through surgery just fine and on the day she was to be released; she died. For the two day's prior to her death, her oxygen level fell to 74% and they did nothing but put her on oxygen to raise it. They didn't investigate WHY her oxygen level was dropping.

It's in PLAIN WRITING, the entire four days, she was being given a morphine drip; when she was allergic to it, documented!! It was PURE negligence. This happened 7 years ago now; and they are STILL stalling this case any way they can!!

But this isn't the lawyers ONLY case; they continue to work on many other cases, making BIG money as well. It's simple another case of greed in this Country and world!! I have first hand knowledge of these type investigations and the work put into them. The reward is most cases, far outweighs their work!! (In my opinion)

myfather15
49742
Points
myfather15 09/20/13 - 02:34 pm
4
1
"Would your doctor perform

"Would your doctor perform surgery for free and only get paid if it was successful?"

Maybe; it's according to the risk vs reward. If you told the doctor "I will pay you $25,000.00 for preforming the surgery and IF's its successful, I will pay you 1.5 million!! If it's not successful, I will pay you nothing."

I'm willing to bet MANY doctor's would do the same thing as lawyers do. They would pre-weigh the chance for success and make their determination based on the percentages. If they feel there is a 80% chance for success, I bet they would take the chance for 1.5 million. If the chance of success is very low; they certainly will not take the chance and this is exactly what lawyers do; as you know.

Lawyers will sit you down, listen to the specifics of the case; then determine if they will take it or not. Most times, they will not because they realize most people that come to them do NOT have a case. Also, if there is a high chance of failure, many lawyers will require an upfront payment of $10,000.00 or more. But if they see a "slam dunk" case; they will tear you're arm off to take your case; requiring NOTHING from you up front because they KNOW they are going to get paid well, eventually.

Also "Would you work for free or at a rate much lower than what your profit margin may actually be."

Actually, I've done this very thing. Many years ago, I worked security for a Christmas party for some pretty wealthy people. The guy who recruited me to work the party told me he could pay me $150.00 for the night, but believes he can get me paid better by asking for tips/donations for my services. During the party, the DJ announced "Hey everyone, this man has taken time away from his family tonight to help us have a good time and be safe; let's take care of those who take care of us. Make your donations here at the DJ table." I ended up getting paid almost $500.00 instead of $150.00 for the night. Now, we can't do this anymore; because it has to be a SET rate. But would I do it again? Absolutely and the fact is, I might be rewarded and I might get stiffed!!

Little Lamb
43836
Points
Little Lamb 09/20/13 - 02:35 pm
5
0
Allgood

Does anybody remember the plane crash at Daniel Field where Tom Algood, his wife, their large dog, the pilot, and a whole bunch of luggage (including a bushel of SC peaches) smacked into the street-level water tank upon takeoff? The plane was too low because it was too heavily loaded.

Little Lamb
43836
Points
Little Lamb 09/20/13 - 02:44 pm
3
0
Wooley

Then just a few days later came another mishap there to a local veterinarian:

Clipping

Red Headed Step Child
4006
Points
Red Headed Step Child 09/20/13 - 03:55 pm
3
0
As much as we'd like to

As much as we'd like to characterize attorneys as bloodsucking leeches, it reminds me of Erin Brockovich - sure, they have the possibility of earning 30-40% of the award, but they also have the possibility of earning a big fat nothing.

I don't know enough about the world of law to say that lawsuits HAVE to be filed through attorneys, or if complaintants can act on their own behalf. If they can, then they have the choice of going on their own or using a professional. Me, I'll stick with the professionals. I've stayed at a Holiday Inn Express before, but I'm no legal eagle.

bubbasauce
20573
Points
bubbasauce 09/20/13 - 08:05 pm
2
0
Yes, lawyers are the bottom

Yes, lawyers are the bottom feeders of this Country and I am using kind words to say the least. But one day you may need one and then they are your best friend. That is if he gets you out of trouble, and then you get the bill !!!

LillyfromtheMills
12596
Points
LillyfromtheMills 09/20/13 - 09:06 pm
2
0
Look out RM

B4 has a new boyfriend in LocalLawyer and he might have health insurance - Life insurance

LocalLawyer
317
Points
LocalLawyer 09/20/13 - 09:51 pm
4
0
A good doctor can save your

A good doctor can save your life. A good preacher can save your soul. But a good lawyer can save your, well you know! Night folks. I gotta go chase some more ambulances, bc that's what we ALL do.

Little Lamb
43836
Points
Little Lamb 09/20/13 - 10:50 pm
0
0
Next

I clicked on the next button above the photo accompanying the story. It's kind of wistful, melancholy, and creepy to see the beautiful smiles of those crash victims.

seenitB4
81543
Points
seenitB4 09/21/13 - 05:49 am
3
0
Lilly

Don't be jealous ...lol
:)

LocalLawyer
317
Points
LocalLawyer 09/24/13 - 03:28 pm
0
0
One final point. Myfather15

One final point. Myfather15 and the others who think lawyers are scumbags, practicing law is extremely stressful. I've never had an easy day in court or at the office. You want to attack an entire profession, but you've never stepped in our shoes. We don't sit back and easily make millions. It takes hard work. We often have people's lives placed in our hands, whether it's a divorce, a criminal matter, a business deal that could bankrupt a corporation and cause hundreds of people to lose their jobs, whatever - it's pressure.
If you think that's a breeze you are fooling yourself. Do most lawyers make decent money? Yes, but do most of them have extremely high stress levels day in and day out, definitely. Just check out the jail report from this week and ask yourself how come such educated people make such bad decisions? Or look at the In Memoriam section of the Ga Bar magazine, lots of heart attacks at 55.
Our jobs are much more stressful than you can imagine. If you meet an attorney who isn't stressed out, he or she probably quit caring. And shouldn't these people be paid well for taking on the burdens of their clients? If law didn't pay well, no one on earth would be there for you when you get run over. We are the only ones who standup to real life bullies and the tragedies that sometimes come in life.
Want to represent yourself? Go right ahead. You get what you pay for.

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