Pilot and Reno Air Racing Assoc. Targeted in Second Air Races Lawsuit

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Updated: 11/09/2011 11:19 pm

Reno, Nev (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- A second lawsuit has been filed following September's deadly Reno air races crash.

The lawsuit blames pilot Jimmy Leeward, and the Reno Air Racing Association, for the disaster.

One of the injured in the crash was California man Gerry De Treville, who lost an eye in the crash, and whose friend in attendance was killed. Now De Treville has hired a San Diego law firm to file suit on two main points. First, that Jimmy Leeward's plane was dangerously-modified for unsafe speeds. And second, that the Reno Air Racing Association, after inspecting the modified plane, should have never let it compete.

Lawyer David Casey explains his client's basis.

"What he didn't know -- and what other spectators didn't know -- is that the Reno Air Racing Assocation allowed an untested, and experimental plane to compete when the owner and designer of the plane had knowledge it was untested and experimental," said Casey. 

The suit states that because of the modifications, "...no one, including the pilot, knew what would happen when the aircraft was operated at top speed, which was now at or above 550 miles per hour. RARA performed a pre-race inspection, and allowed the aircraft to race despite not knowing the result of the radical modifications."

The first lawsuit filed last week was for $25 million. This second suit does not ask for a specific amount -- at least not yet.
Reno Air Racing Assocation CEO Mike Houghton expects more suits to come. He says that for now, the association will largely be "on the sidelines", so to speak, until these matters progress and go to court.

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Speed - 11/10/2011 11:36 AM
0 Votes
dacofa has it right-modification is inherent to racing,the whole idea is to modify the machine to go faster. That concept,along with "Personal Responsibility" is lost on people who believe everything that happens to them should be someone else's fault. I can't see why the sport must be subjected to lawsuits by these families and individuals,who are basically saying,"These people's injuries and deaths are YOUR fault,because the spectators were too stupid to expect that it's PROBABLY DANGEROUS to sit neat a course where high performance airplanes are racing at 500 miles per hour,about 100 feet off the ground." I'm very sure that all those people knew there was a possibility of this sort of accident happening,and they accepted that risk when they walked in. Now their families and attorneys are questioning the spectators' acceptance of risk,blaming others for their clients' or clients' family members bad decisions. Personally,I think it's nuts to be that close to the action,but anyone with a brain can figure out that by being at the races,they COULD be impacted by an accident. I don't know who's crazier-the families that see this as a chance to capitalize on a loved one's death or injury or the "attorneys" who think a bad decision should be compensated by a huge cost to someone who had no real involvement in the accident and the possible end of a great,long standing event.

nubgnngs42 - 11/10/2011 8:32 AM
1 Vote
That the plane was modified for dangerous speeds? For some people especially in California, anything over 10MPH is a dangerous speed. Of course it was modified as is anything used in racing, shoes, bikes, skies, swimsuits. etc. That's why it's called racing. Not to see who can take the longest, but get there FIRST! Sleezy lawyers looking for the fast buck. Old saying in racing, if you're not breaking parts you're not trying hard enough.
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