Inside of a plane's cockpit, shown in grayscale

Beasley Allen files wrongful death lawsuit for pilot’s widow

Beasley Allen has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Jean Moir, widow of Michael Moir, a commercial pilot who was killed during a personal, cross-country flight after his oxygen supply was rapidly depleted, leaving him unconscious. The lawsuit alleges that Michigan-based Lapeer Aviation, Inc., was responsible for maintaining Moir’s Mooney M20T aircraft and failed to properly inspect and replace the aircraft’s oxygen tank, which resulted in the airplane crash and Moir’s untimely death. The widow is represented by Beasley Allen attorney Mike Andrews and Alan Wittenberg of Lopatin & Wittenberg.

“There is no justification for the defendant’s conscious disregard and indifference to our client’s life,” said Andrews. “Aircraft are complex, but sadly, this tragedy doesn’t involve some complex mechanical failure. Rather it rests on the defendants’ failure to exercise even the smallest amount of diligence in inspecting and replacing our client’s oxygen system – his lifeline. The defendants robbed Michael and his family of a future together and must be held accountable for their wrongdoing.”

Three years ago, on Sept. 10, 2015, Michael Moir took off from Gaylord Regional Airport in Gaylord, Michigan, headed to Atlantic City, New Jersey. The National Transportation Safety Board explained (archive link) that approximately 16 minutes into the flight Moir read back the assigned altitude instructions from an air traffic controller, and that was his last response during the flight. The aircraft was equipped with autopilot, and radar data showed that it remained at the altitude Moir had set prior to his last communication with air traffic control until approaching its destination.

Approximately five miles northwest of the intended destination, the aircraft began descending until it impacted the Atlantic Ocean. Moir’s body and the aircraft remains were recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard days later. When recovered, Moir was wearing the oxygen mask that was connected to the oxygen system on the aircraft. A post-crash inspection revealed a loose fitting in the oxygen line allowed the oxygen to escape the canister more quickly than Moir anticipated. The lack of oxygen forced Moir to experience hypoxia before becoming unconscious. The aircraft, which was set on autopilot, continued to fly across the country with its unconscious pilot until it crashed.

The complaint includes counts of negligence, wantonness, fraud, willfulness, recklessness, and wrongful death and is filed in The State Court of Lapeer County, Michigan.

National Transportation Safety Board

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