Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family of Adam Christopher Griffis, who was killed March 24, 2014, when the PIPER PA-44-180 aircraft he was co-piloting as a flight student crashed near Brunswick, Ga., after departing from North Carolina, with the intended destination of Jacksonville, Fla.
The lawsuit alleges the plane was not airworthy, and mechanical failure resulted in the crash, killing Mr. Griffis and the Pilot in Command during the flight, Andres Santiago Lopez. The plane was owned, leased, and maintained and/or operated by the defendants, Airline Transport Professionals Holdings Inc., ATP USA Inc., ATP Flight Academy LLC, ATP Flight Academy of Arizona LLC, and ATP Aircraft 2 LLC. Mr. Lopez also was a student pilot at ATP Flight Academy in Jacksonville, Fla., at the time of the crash, and his estate also is named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Beasley Allen attorneys Mike Andrews and Chris Glover are representing Barbara Griffis Prince and Guy R. Willis, co-administrators of the Estate of Adam Christopher Griffis.
“The flight school should have known the aircraft wasn’t properly maintained and posed an unreasonable risk to all persons operating, flying and being flown on board,” Andrews says. “But they did not warn the pilots about possible problems with the aircraft, and they should have known that, as students, Mr. Griffis and Mr. Lopez did not have the training or experience to operate the plane under conditions they knew to be unsafe. As a result, our client lost his life.”
The subject aircraft was a complex twin-engine aircraft, having no de-icing capability on its wings and tail surfaces. Radar indicated that the subject aircraft was at an altitude of 8,000 feet at 5:40 p.m. when it began a rapid descent reaching an altitude of 300 feet at 5:44 p.m., and crashing following an in-flight break-up near Brunswick, Ga., causing severe injuries and death to Mr. Lopez, the Pilot in Command and Mr. Griffis. The right vacuum pump on the subject aircraft was inoperative prior to and at the time the subject aircraft departed North Carolina. The ATP defendants knew or should have known of this fact. The left vacuum pump on the subject aircraft failed during the flight at some point prior to the subject aircraft’s rapid descent.
The lawsuit alleges negligence, gross negligence, and vicarious liability. The lawsuit is filed in the Circuit Court of the Fourth Judicial Circuit in and for Duval County, Fla.
- Read the complaint.