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Just wondering if there are any aviation lawyers out there who specialise in sueing flight schools from Britain, that are based in America.
I'm about to being legal action against a flight school that could turn out to be quite complex as it was from quite a while ago and any help would be much appreciated. I've already got a solicitor in London, a US Attorney and would also like the help of someone specialising in this area or some advice.
If you have a solicitor in London and an attorney in the US, you should have the advice you need. Asking on a bulletin board is not likely to get you better advice.
It is not clear if you are bringing a suit in the UK or in the US ? What are you suing for ? Is it a small claims action ? Is it for personal injury ?
Before filing a lawsuit you ( or a lawyer) will normally consider three things:
1) Is there a "cause of action" against the would be defendant ? 2) Is there a Statute of limitation bar ? 3) what is the probability of proving the action and actually collecting from the defendant ?
You should also bear in mind that in the US, every state has its own laws. For example in the case of statute of limitations you may have only one year to file before your case is time barred. In some cases you may have as little as 60 days.This might vary depending on the type of action.
Depending on the sums involved and the likelyhood of success, litigation is likely to be a very time consuming and emotionally draining experience. In many cases even successful litigants regret the wasted time and money actually expended in pursuing an action. Unfortunetaly it tends to be an emotional experience for the claimant (plaintiff) in this type of action. For the defendant it is usually a matter handed to their liability insurers who have no emotional attachment whatsoever. They also have a lot of experience in handling such cases, and are very often notorious at protracting and delaying cases to the point that the claimant is simply worn down or gives up.
Of course if every claimant considered this seriously, there would be far fewer cases brought, and you should not necessarily be dissuaded by these comments. Nevertheless this is often the reality and no matter how angry you are, you should consider the realistic timescale and likely chance of recovery before embarking on such a venture.
A lawyer who is familiar with this type of litigation should be able to give you a realistic picture, and you should listen carefully to what they have to say. a lot of potential litigants are driven by their own view of justice and recompense, rather than what is the reality of the situation.
Obviously I don't want to name the school at present, and don't want to email the name to anyone that asks for it as it's irrelevant to the actual action I'm taking.
I'm being very laid back about the actual legal action - it relates to an accident in Florida I had a while ago (more than a year). Not neccessarily angry about it, more to let me move on (I have in most ways but I am reminded about it when speaking to friends I made there). The case is for breach of contract and for negligence. The flight school is obviously US based, but in association with a UK company.
I believe I have a strong case, but then I'm not a lawyer, and I've also got the support of a national newspaper who will follow the case as it progresses (my job is, in it's nature, high profile, and involves working with journos on a daily basis, hence the backing).
The flight school haven't received any warning on the impending legal action as yet, but I will begin this in the new year after the Christmas period and New Year celebrations are over.
I'll keep you guys posted on the outcome of the legal case, if the case does come to fruition but I would still like any advice any of you have or any experiences you have of similar cases.
while each state has its laws, if the school is operated under federal aviation regualtions, a case might be made that it would involved Federal Laws.
I am not a lawyer. But one should consider that if you were enrolled in a school operating under FAR 141 or 61 you might have a case in US Federal court. get a lawyer, and then talk to two other ones too!
There may be many reasons a person sues. In my own case, following a workplace accident involving defective equipment that the company was very aware of but did nothing to rectify the problem, I was unable to work for nigh on four years but only received compensation to the amount of one year's wages so financially I lost out big style.
Greed was most certainly not my motivation. Making the employer, supplier and manufacturer sit up and take notice of their legal and moral responsibilities was the motivation and whilst in the overall scheme of things it may not have had any significant, if any, impact on their operations it will have undoubtedly have had some effect on their insurance and if anything similar occurred in the future they could find themselves not covered.
One thing I will say is think hard before bringing an action. It is quite stressful and if you are claiming real damages for personal injury you will find yourself under very close scrutiny, including being placed under surveillance by investigators who will use any trick in the book to get the information / photos they want. If you want any info on this PM me.
While I do appreciate them, I do find it amazing that some people who have no idea of the case or the arguments feel they can make jibes about it. It sums up this kind of internet site – it can be incredibly useful for some, but the useful information is nearly always competed with against by negative comments from narrow-minded people.
As I said, it’s not for “personal gain” at all – and the best result I could get and which I’m hoping to get is that the school gets stripped of it’s JAA status without any money being paid to me and that’s something I’ll work hard at and have evidence to back up.
Thanks for your comments 2close – the suit is not for personal injury so I won’t have any worry about “surveillance”.
If things are bad at this school, have you thought about making a formal complaint to the accrediting authority, which I assume is the CAA? Send them an e-mail asking for the contact details of the head of the accreditation section, then make your complaint with as much detail back-up as possible. While there is no guarantee you will receive an adequate or impartial hearing, it just might cause someone to look at the school a little more closely.
Regarding the courts, bear in mind that any initial action even if successful may be subject to an appeal process, which could drag things out quite a bit, and raise the money and emotional/distraction costs even higher. You may need to discuss this with your lawyer.
I think that you have given a sufficient outline of the school that many of us will have a good idea who we are talking about, and can probably sympathise with some of your likely concerns.
If your objective is truly not financial gain, and you simply wish to see the school lose its JAA qualification, then a lawsuit is not an appropriate course of action. The only organisation that can remove the qualification is the CAA, and your best course of action is to present them with a well-documented complaint, for their action. Your launching a Lawsuit does not in any way engage the CAA in the process, and your lawsuit in general terms, can only really be for the purposes of receiving personal damages of one sort or another.
So... IMHO... if you are doing this for the reasons you say, unhire the lawyer(s), put your gripe together in the form of a detailed dossier for the CAA. Engage the assistance of other students if you feel that additional evidence is needed to support your case, then present it to the regulator.
If you have enough evidence to support your case, they will act, and your claimed mission will be accomplished at very little personal cost.
Anybody coming to a case saying that they "have the support of a national newspaper", tends to lose a certain amount of sympathy. What exactly do you think that their involvement is going to achieve?
The CAA has in the past backed down from prosecuting companies or from removing their privileges even when their case has been unassailable. They greatly fear being sued for loss of earnings. I would recommend continuing the 2-pronged approach; if you have a successful court case then at least you can publicise the problems without risking suit for libel.