Suit Brought in Germanwings Flight 9525 Case
- Kreindler & Kreindler, along with co-counsel from law firms in Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom, filed a lawsuit on behalf of 80 families in Arizona Federal court.
- The suit alleges Airline Training Center Arizona, Inc. failed to apply its own stringent standards to discover the history of Lubitz’s severe mental illness and bar his admission.
- Lubitz’s history of depression and mental instability showed his condition was triggered by stress, particularly the kind of stress a commercial pilot routinely faces, leading to his suicide and the deaths of 150 people.
On March 24, 2015, a co-pilot with a history of depression intentionally crashed the Germanwings Flight 9525 passenger jet. All 144 passengers and crew onboard the Airbus A320-211 were killed when the plane crashed in the French Alps. It was determined by the investigation into the tragedy that the co-pilot locked the captain out of the cockpit and began a controlled descent until the plane collided with a mountain. The co-pilot had previously been declared by his doctor “unfit for work” due to suicidal tendencies.
Air carriers must have layers of protection such as background checks and psych evaluations when hiring pilots to try to determine if they have a history of mental illness that would prohibit them from flying.
In the Media
Partner Dan Rose was interviewed by Shep Smith on Fox News on what air carriers can do to help prevent another tragedy like the Germanwings Flight 9525 crash.
Kreindler & Kreindler, along with co-counsel from law firms in Germany, Holland and the United Kingdom, filed a lawsuit in Arizona federal court this morning against Airline Training Center Arizona, Inc. (ATCA). The suit was filed on behalf of 80 families, from Germany and other countries, of victims of the March 24, 2015 Germanwings Flight 9525 pilot-suicide disaster in the French Alps that took 150 lives. The defendant in the case is Airline Training Center Arizona, Inc. (ATCA), a company of the Lufthansa global airline organization.
The lawsuit alleges that ATCA was one of the most important gateways or checkpoints in Lubitz’s desire to become a Lufthansa commercial pilot. ATCA was not just negligent, but also careless, and even reckless, in failing to apply its own well-advertised “stringent” standards to discover the history of Lubitz’s severe mental illness that should have kept him from admission to ATCA’s flight school.
Lubitz’s particular history of depression and mental instability made him a suicide time bomb triggered to go off under the ordinary stresses of life — particularly the kind of stresses a commercial pilot routinely faces. That said, the fuse which culminated in Lubitz’s suicide on March 24, 2015, that took the lives of 144 passengers and his fellow crewmates was lit when ATCA negligently allowed him to begin commercial pilot training.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona.
Partner Brian Alexander was a panelist on Pilot Depression and Suicide - How to improve Aviation Safety in the Wake of GermanWings at the 2016 AViCON (Aviation Insurance Conference) about the legal issues surrounding the mental health of pilots following the GermanWings Flight 9505 tragedy. Brian gave the talk Spotlight on Flight Crew Mental Health Issues Post-GermanWings at the 2016 American Conference Institute.
The following items were addressed during that talk:
- An in-depth discussion of aeromedical issues and developments following last year’s Germanwings crash
- What procedures are currently in place to identify mental health issues in pilots, crew members, air traffic controllers and are they enough?
- Who should be in possession of a crew member’s mental health information?
- Who has what responsibilities to make reports of other crew members’ mental health info?
- Who regulates this?
- Assessing considerations of confidentiality with considerations of public safety
- Under what circumstances can medical data be shared and with whom?
- What strides is the FAA taking in response to the Germanwings tragedy (including Pilot Fitness Aviation Rulemaking Committee and the Aerospace Medicine Safety Information System)?
- Addressing current issues and challenges related to:
o Awareness and reporting of emotional and mental health issues
o Methods used to evaluate pilot emotional and mental health
o Barriers to reporting such issues
o Surveillance and oversight of designees and aviation industry substance-abuse programs
- A discussion of the ethical challenges and considerations, and how to best navigate them
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Kreindler is one of the largest and most distinguished aviation accident law firms in the world. Since 1950, our attorneys have served as lead counsel in nearly every major commercial aviation disaster litigation. Our staff of attorneys includes four commercially licensed helicopter pilots and one former helicopter maintenance specialist (who is also a graduate of the NTSB Accident Investigation Course). The firm has successfully handled countless private, charter, military, general aviation and helicopter accident cases. With a record of success resolving aviation crash cases, Kreindler is prepared to advise and represent clients on a national basis. Contact us for a free consultation about your legal options.
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