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. Freedom From Religion Foundation: If you really want to be free from religion, don't go to the Christmas Play or the Christmas Pageant or the Christmas Parade. Anything with "Christ" or Saint...fill in the blank...would be off limits to you. Then leave the rest of us ALONE!

  2. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  3. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  4. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  5. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon