CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Attorneys for Med-Trans Corporation have filed a response in federal court to a lawsuit filed by the family of a victim of January’s Mercy Air Med helicopter crash.
Shell Lair-Langenbau was a flight nurse on board that helicopter when it crashed into a field north of Ventura on January 2. All three medical workers on board were killed.
Family members of Lair-Langenbau filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Texas-based Med-Trans, the operator of the helicopter service. They allege negligence on the part of the company and the pilot, Gene Grell. The suit alleges the company knew the helicopter, a Bell 407, was unsafe to fly in icing conditions, but that the company had a “go at any cost” philosophy. The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, and a jury trial.
In a response filed in federal court on Monday, Med-Trans responds by denying all allegations of negligence, denies that the plaintiffs are entitled to any relief, and says the company’s conduct “did not constitute willful and wonton disregard for the rights or safety of another.” Furthermore, they claim that damages “were caused by persons or entities beyond the Defendant’s control, and… the fault of the accident should be attributed to other such persons or entities.”
The company is asking for the case to be dismissed, and if not, that a jury trial be held to settle the matter.
Med-Trans is represented by Roland Peddicord of West Des Moines, and Martin Rose and Don Swaim of Dallas, Texas. Plaintiffs are represented by Jay Lander of Mason City, and Gary Robb of Kansas City, Missouri.
The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet released a final report on the cause of the crash, but as KIMT News 3 has reported, preliminary findings center on icy weather conditions being a possible cause.