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Justices reject jurisdiction in 'bizarre' fatal helicopter crash

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The family of a man killed by a falling helicopter that crashed in British Columbia will not have their case heard in Indiana where the helicopter engine was built, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Isaiah Omondi Otieno, 20, a Kenyan citizen and student at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, B.C., was killed four years ago as he was mailing a letter to his parents in Kenya. A helicopter lost power overhead, crashing and killing Otieno in a crash the court described as bizarre.

Otieno’s family filed a wrongful death suit naming as a defendant Rolls-Royce, the successor to Indianapolis-based Allison Division of General Motors, which designed and built the engine for the 1974 Bell Helicopter. The family sued in Indianapolis, Justice Frank Sullivan wrote, “because they would only be entitled to nominal damages under British Columbia law.”

But Sullivan wrote that the Indiana court was not the most appropriate venue.

“Because we conclude that British Columbia provides an available and adequate forum under applicable law, and that the trial court did not otherwise abuse its discretion in dismissing the complaint on the ground of forum non conveniens, we affirm the trial court’s judgment,” Sullivan wrote in a unanimous opinion.

The Court of Appeals also had previously affirmed the Marion Superior Court dismissal. Honeywell International Inc., which designed engine components in Indiana, and Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of Texas, also had been named as defendants in the suit.

 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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