On September 8, 1994, USAir 427 crashed near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in a strikingly similar accident scenario as the air disaster of United Airlines Flight 585 just 3 years earlier in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (See United Airlines Flight 585 near Colorado Springs, Colorado.)
Schaden, Katzman, Lampert & McClune aviation lawyers represented families and victims of both airplane crashes and filed cases in state circuit court in Chicago, Illinois, and in the federal courts in Pittsburgh and Colorado Springs and was appointed to Plaintiffs Steering Committees in both state and federal court. The Firm’s partners were appointed to Plaintiffs Steering Committees in state and federal court actions. Years before USAir 427 crashed, Schaden, Katzman, Lampert & McClune was already representing clients who had lost family members in the fatal crash of United Airlines Flight 585.
From the outset of litigation arising from the crash of United 585-prior to the USAir flight 427 crash Boeing denied that its 737 could cause a rudder hard-over in a maneuver not commanded by the pilot. By the time USAir 427 crashed, the Firm had the benefit of almost three years of testing and analysis of the 737’s tail and rudder systems, and extensive discovery against Boeing. The similarities between the two major airline disasters were obvious to our attorneys from the outset.
The Boeing Aircraft Company made every attempt to disprove Mr. Schaden’s theory that the aircraft’s rudder system was defective, claiming that wind shear or nonsensical pilot inputs caused the airplanes to crash. In response, Boeing was confronted with its own data, its failed and flawed aeronautical analysis, and too, its lack of candor with the public and the National Transportation Safety Administration.
All of the cases arising from United Airlines flight 585 pending in Colorado and those arising from USAir flight 427 pending in federal court in Pittsburgh were resolved. The tail assembly and rudder’s power control units were crated, painted in USAir livery colors, and shipped to Chicago, Illinois for trial in state court. On the eve of the Chicago trial, all of the remaining cases were concluded. Boeing chose not to contest in open court that its 737’s rudder was prone to an uncommanded rudder issues while in flight.