Monday, October 13, 2014

Lawsuit against Evergreen Helicopters over deadly Peruvian crash will play out in Oregon

A lawsuit brought against Evergreen Helicopters Inc. by survivors of eight Peruvians killed in a 2008 helicopter crash will play out in Oregon courts rather than in Peru, where the crash occurred. 

Last week's decision by the Oregon Court of Appeals is a loss for Evergreen — now a subsidiary of Portland-based Erickson Inc. — after winning an earlier lower-court victory when Multnomah Circuit Court granted its motions to dismiss the suit saying Peru was the more convenient forum to litigate the case.

The estates of the eight Peruvian victims appealed, calling Oregon the proper venue. Plaintiffs allege the company at the time failed to properly maintain the helicopter, train and supervise flight crews, navigate the aircraft in a safe and competent manner and failed to take all emergency measures.

Evergreen acquired the helicopter through a sublease and in turn leased it to the Canadian subsidiary of Helinka, a Peruvian company, which then subleased it for use in Peru. As part of the legal agreement, Evergreen provided pilots and maintenance personnel to work in Peru. The lead pilot on the day of the crash was an Evergreen employee.

The crash killed 10 people, including the eight Peruvians and two crew members.

The appeals court said the lower court erred and remanded the case back.

At the time of the crash, Evergreen Helicopters was a division of McMinnville-based Evergreen International Aviation, which went bankrupt last year. The Evergreen helicopter business was sold in March 2013 to Erickson, a Portland-based helicopter services company, in a $250 million deal.

Plaintiffs in the case are represented by Richard S. Yugler, Robert B. Hopkins, Matthew K. Clarke, and Landye Bennett of Blumstein LLP, who served as co-counsel with Slack & Davis on this case.

The case is Espinoza et. al. v. Evergreen Helicopters Inc.

- Source:
NTSB Identification: NYC08WA131
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 11, 2008 in Santa Cruz, Peru
Aircraft: Bell 412EP, registration: N417EV
Injuries: 10 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On March 3, 2008, about 1120 Peruvian local time, a Bell 412EP, N417EV, owned by Evergreen Helicopters, Incorporated, and operated by Helinka S.A.C., was destroyed when it impacted remote, mountainous terrain about 10 nautical miles west of Santa Cruz, Cajamarca, Peru. The United States certificated airline transport pilot, the Peruvian provisional co-pilot, and 10 passengers were fatally injured. Meteorological conditions at the time of the accident were unknown. The helicopter was operating on a company visual flight rules flight plan under Peruvian flight regulations.

According to information released by the Peruvian government, the helicopter was transporting eight miners from the Rio Tinto mine to Chiclayo. The helicopter impacted a mountainside about 3,500 feet above sea level, and was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. The accident occurred in the vicinity of 6 degrees, 38 minutes south latitude, 79 degrees, 10.5 minutes west longitude.

The investigation is under the direction of the Republic of Peru.

For further information, contact:

Comision de Investigacion de Accidentes de Aviacion (CIAA)
Direccion General de Aeronautica Civil
Avenida Jiron Zorritos 1203 / Lima 1 Peru Central: 6157800

Tel: ( 511 ) 315 - 7800

This report is for informational purposes only, and only contains information that was released by or obtained from the Republic of Peru.

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