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Significant Legal Matters Handled

1. Budget Car Rental, Inc. v. Wayne County (1988): Lawsuit seeking to declare as unconstitutional the airport service charges applied to Budget by Wayne County. Dismissed on Motion for Summary Judgment.

2. Stark v. Wayne County (1989): Wrongful death lawsuit arising from automobile crash when vehicle driven by 28 year-old plaintiff collided with Airport fire truck. Favorably settled for $200,000.00.

3. Airfield collision between two Northwest Aircraft in the fog, December 3, 1990: Litigation involving 8 deaths and numerous injured passengers involving Wayne County (Metro Airport), The Federal Aviation Administration, and Northwest Airlines. Matter settled as against Wayne County for 4 million dollars by County’s insurers over objection by Wayne County and myself based upon governmental immunity.

4. Dodds v. Wayne County (Northwest Flight #255 litigation): Litigation initiated by copilot of Northwest Flight #255 against Wayne County, McDonnell Douglas Corporation and National Car Rental Systems involving the crash of NWA #255 at Detroit Metro Airport. Dismissed on Motion for Summary Disposition (governmental immunity).

5. McBride v. Wayne County (1990): Litigation commenced by 125 residents of the City of Romulus alleging sewer back-up caused by Metro Airport’s release of retention pond water during a significant rainstorm. Certification of class action rejected by court; Third party cause of action initiated by Wayne County against the City of Taylor. Wayne County dismissed on Motion for Summary Disposition, City of Taylor settled.

6. Codd v. Wayne County (1995): Litigation involving tug operator who alleged ankle injury as a result of uneven pavement on airfield at Metro Airport. Supervised litigation which resulted in Michigan Court of Appeals holding that Metro Airport is not a proprietary function (perhaps the most important appellate precedent involving governmental immunity and Michigan public airports).

7. Bedore v. Wayne County (1997): Litigation involving allegations of defective escalator, which resulted in significant injury to 4 year-old boy. Matter settled by Wayne County for $40,000.00, however Wayne County ultimately was reimbursed for the $40,000.00 by codefendant escalator maintenance company (with an additional $16,000.00 for legal fees) based upon County’s cross claim for contractual indemnification.

8. Sandhu v. Wayne County (1997): Litigation resulting from tug rollover incident wherein plaintiff’s ankle was crushed. Wayne County and Robert Braun (Director of Airports) dismissed on Motion for Summary Disposition (governmental immunity).

9. Koczara v. Wayne County (1999): Class action litigation involving 8000 Northwest Airlines passengers stranded in their planes on the airfield at Metro Airport for up to ten hours during a significant snowstorm. Matter dismissed as against Wayne County on Motion for Summary Disposition, Northwest Airlines settled for 7.2 million dollars.

10. Ferrer v. Wayne County (1999): Complex premises and construction litigation commenced by Northwest Airlines International Flight Captain for injuries allegedly sustained when overhead fire suppression door malfunctioned and struck him on the head. Five million dollar exposure. Numerous defendants (13) with Wayne County as primary defendant. Numerous cross-claims, third-party claims, and counter-claims. Indemnification motion by Wayne County granted resulting in subcontractor defending and holding County harmless, plus reimbursing County and its insurer for in excess of $226,000.00 in fees and costs to date.

11. Lufthansa Cargo v. Wayne County (2002): Litigation commenced by Lufthansa Cargo as a result of damage to 3 aircraft jet engines allegedly resulting from ingestion of foreign material (sand or deicing material) from runways at Metro Airport upon landing. Exposure of 6 million dollars. Wayne County’s Motion to Dismiss granted. Dismissal affirmed by the 6th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. (perhaps the second most important appellate precedent involving airfield exposure for Michigan public airports behind Codd v. Wayne County).

12. McMahon v. Wayne County Airport Authority (2004): Litigation resulting from a helicopter crash at Willow Run Airport initiated by helicopter company and its insurer (subrogation). Exposure at 3 million dollars. Litigation commenced in both state and federal courts and courts of appeals. Matter dismissed as against WCAA and Willow Run Airport Director individually in August, 2006. (Court opinion breaks new ground in the areas of federal preemption and immunity for Michigan public airport employees).

13. Chambers v. Wayne County Airport Authority (2008): Litigation involving a slip and fall on water on the floor of the terminal. Source of the water was a roof leak. Matter successfully tendered to janitorial contractor. Contractor reimbursed Airport Authority for all wrongfully incurred fees and costs ($35,000). Created new appellate precedent by the Michigan Supreme Court regarding statutory notice of claim requirements in order to avoid governmental immunity.

14. Nedoff v. Wayne County Airport Authority (2009): Litigation involving a slip and fall on water on the floor of the terminal. Source of the water was a known roof leak. Tender to janitorial contractor rejected by contractor based upon Airport Authority negligence. Order of indemnification ultimately granted by court. Matter settled by contractor on behalf of Airport Authority for $85,000. Contractor further ordered to reimburse Airport Authority for all wrongfully incurred fees and costs ($83,000).

15. Vela v. Wayne County Airport Authority (2009): Litigation involving a tug accident on the West Service Drive of Metro Airport resulting in the 21 year old driver becoming a paraplegic. Cause of action against Airport Authority based upon defective roadway. Damages sought: $28 million. Asserted third party cause of action against American Airlines based upon contractual indemnification alleging negligence by American invoking indemnification provision of WCSS/AA contract. Order of indemnification granted by court. American further ordered to reimburse Airport Authority for all wrongfully incurred fees and costs ($27,752.36). Matter still pending.

 

 


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