The families of servicemembers killed in a helicopter crash during Navy exercises sued the private contractor responsible for maintaining the helicopter under the Death on the High Seas Act and general maritime law. A state court trial judge in Texas dismissed the suit and ruled that the lawsuit must be dismissed under the political question doctrine. In other words, a state trial court should not be involved in questioning the decisions of the military. The trial court relied on the Supreme Court’s earlier decision in K-9 Detection Services v. Freeman which introduced the political question doctrine into Texas law.
The Texas Supreme Court ruled last week that the political action doctrine does not bar the lawsuit in question because it does not call into question the decisions made by the military. Instead, it is a simple negligence case against a private contractor. The families will now be allowed to go back to the state court to proceed with their lawsuit.
Attorney Richard LaGarde has a long track record of representing helicopter crash victims in Texas and Louisiana. His past cases include offshore crashes in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the North Sea. In one case, evidence uncovered by Mr. LaGarde led to a change in the design of a helicopter used extensively in the offshore oil and gas industry.
For a free consultation regarding a helicopter or airplane crash in Texas, Louisiana, or Florida, contact LaGarde Law Firm at 1-800-LAGARDE (524-2733) or, if you prefer, fill out the form on our CONTACT US page.