Families of the passengers killed in Brazil, last year, in the country's worst air disaster are using an American legal office specialized in air accidents to file a series of lawsuits. On July 17, 2007, 199 people died when TAM Airlines Flight 3054 slid off the runway at Congonhas Airport, in São Paulo and slammed into an air cargo building.
Aviation attorneys Steven C. Marks and Ricardo M. Martinez-Cid with the Podhurst Orseck law firm filed 59 wrongful death complaints related to the tragedy in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
In addition to TAM, which is charged with its own negligence and that of its pilots and maintenance personnel, the defendants in the lawsuits are Pegasus Aviation IV, Inc.; Airbus S.A.S.; Airbus Industrie G.I.E. (EADS) (EAD.PA); Airbus Customer Services, Inc.; Goodrich Corporation NYSE: GR; and International Aero Engines AG.
"Responsibility not only lies with the companies that manufactured and handled maintenance for the aircraft," said Marks, "We believe Airbus provided inadequate customer support, simulator services, and training materials for the pilots and flight crew that replicates the performance of the aircraft in all normal and abnormal conditions."
Marks said it's clear the flight crew knew there were problems with the aircraft before the disaster because the plane's right thrust reverser had been deactivated before the flight.
"The thrust reverser is used to slow the jet down upon landing. Without an operational right thrust reverser, it didn't have enough room to stop on the runway, ending in a horrific crash when the plane skidded off the runway's edge," he argue.
Podhurst Orseck filed the first lawsuit related to the crash on behalf of the family of 35-year-old Ricardo Tazoe of Miami, an employee with Banco Santander. In all of the cases, the plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial to recover financial damages for pain and suffering; lost value of life; funeral expenses; and all other damages they may be entitled to under the law.
This is not the first Brazilian air disaster handled by Marks and Martinez-Cid. They currently represent the families of several passengers who were killed when Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907 collided with an Embraer Legacy 600 business jet over the Amazon Rainforest on September 29 2006. All 154 people aboard died in which was then called Brazil's worst plane accident.
The American attorneys have represented victims in other major commercial airline crashes, including those killed in the crash of Comair Flight 5191 at the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky. in August 2006.
Marks has acted as co-lead trial counsel for the California State Court plaintiffs after a Silk Air crash between Jakarta and Singapore in 1997 and acted as lead liaison counsel for the state court and federal multi- district litigation plaintiffs' steering committees over the ValuJet Flight 592 crash in Miami-Dade County in 1996.
Based in Miami, Podhurst Orseck, P.A. concentrates exclusively in trial and appellate litigation. The firm's general tort practice places a major emphasis on aviation, automobile, products liability and medical malpractice litigation.