What Caused the Deadly Tour Helicopter Crash in Nevada?

December 21, 2011 / 7:30 am

What was supposed to be a sightseeing tour of the Hoover Dam in Nevada by helicopter proved fatal for four passengers in Nevada in December. The helicopter crashed into a canyon, killing four passengers and the pilot. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Sundance Helicopters of Las Vegas owned and operated the helicopter.

What is making the investigation difficult is the remote area of the crash site. There were witnesses to the crash that reported hearing the impact and seeing smoke. A spokesperson for Sundance Helicopters said the helicopter was on a tour when it disappeared without explanation. According to investigators, the weather on the day of the crash was clear with winds about 5 mph.

This is not the first accident for Sundance Helicopters. In September 2003, six passengers and the pilot died after the helicopter crashed into a canyon wall in the Grand Canyon. An NTSB investigation revealed unsafe flying procedures and pilot error as the likely cause. In addition, two passengers reported a Sundance pilot flying close to canyon walls. The company did not discipline the pilot after the reports.

Have you ever taken a helicopter sightseeing tour?

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MIAMI – Colson Hicks Eidson today announced that seven of its lawyers are included in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. The recognitions are in a wide variety of fields, including Bet-the-Company and Personal Injury Litigation, as well as Criminal Defense: White-Collar.

“The firm is honored that Best Lawyers again recognizes the majority of our attorneys for their exceptional work and dedication to our clients,” said Dean C. Colson, Managing Partner of Colson Hicks Eidson.

Best Lawyers lists of outstanding lawyers are developed through peer review surveys where tens of thousands of lawyers evaluate their professional peers. The seven Colson Hicks Eidson attorneys recognized by Best Lawyers are:

Stephanie A. Casey
Commercial Litigation

Dean C. Colson
Bet-the-Company Litigation
Commercial Litigation
Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants
Professional Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs

Lewis S. Eidson
Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs
Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs

Julie Braman Kane
Commercial Litigation
Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs
Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

Joseph J. Kalbac
Commercial Litigation
Insurance Law
Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs
Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs

Roberto Martinez
Bet-the-Company Litigation
Commercial Litigation
Criminal Defense: White-Collar

Curtis B. Miner
Commercial Litigation
Criminal Defense: White-Collar
Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

“Six of our attorneys have been recognized by Best Lawyers for more than a decade and we are excited to welcome Stephanie Casey as our newest addition to the list,” said Colson.

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About Colson Hicks Eidson

Colson Hicks Eidson is a renowned law firm based in Miami, Florida, that is recognized as one of the top trial firms in the United States. Built on a foundation of over 50 years of dedication forging strong client relationships, Colson Hicks Eidson handles local, national, and international litigation, with cases spanning from Miami, Florida, and throughout the United States, to matters in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Europe. Learn more at: www.colson.com.

Miami (June 6, 2023) – Colson Hicks Eidson has been recognized as one of the top three trial law firms in Florida in the “Litigation: Mainly Plaintiffs” category by the respected Chambers and Partners USA Legal Guide for the third year in a row. In addition, five of the Miami-based firm’s attorneys were also ranked individually.

“These rankings are a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our lawyers and our firm’s ability to handle a wide array of cases on behalf of our clients,” said the managing partner of Colson Hicks Eidson, Dean Colson. “As the South Florida business community expands and changes, we’re excited to continue serving new clients with the same spirit of excellence we developed when the firm first opened more than 50 years ago.”

Julie Kane, Stephanie Casey, Curtis Miner, Roberto Martínez, and Mike Eidson were all ranked individually for their work in the “Litigation: Mainly Plaintiffs” category. Miner and Martínez received the top ranking (Band 1), and Martínez also was ranked “Senior Statesperson” in the “White Collar Crime and Government Investigations” area.

The rankings are a result of the firm’s exceptional track record of securing multi-million-dollar judgments and settlements for its clients in areas that include commercial litigation, medical malpractice, products liability, class actions, multi-district litigation, and aviation and automobile accidents. Notably, in the past year, Colson Hicks Eidson secured judgments against four major cruise lines totaling almost half-billion dollars that were the first ever obtained in any case brought under Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996 (the LIBERTAD Act). In those cases, Carnival, MSC Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Lines were found liable for trafficking in the Havana Port Terminal that the Castro government illegally confiscated from the U.S.-owned Havana Docks Corp in 1960. Each cruise line is required to pay Havana Docks approximately $112 million.

The firm’s recent work also ranged from being part of the team of lawyers that secured over $1 billion in settlements for the families of the victims of the Champlain Towers South Condominium collapse to a $5 million jury verdict against Chen Neighborhood Medical Centers of South Florida LLC for failing to accurately diagnose breast cancer in a patient.

“We are proud to receive this recognition as one of the country’s leading trial firms,” said Roberto Martínez. “Our firm is committed to seeking justice in complex legal matters across the world and improving the lives of our clients,” added Curtis Miner.

To schedule a consultation, do not hesitate to contact an attorney at our law office. We have experience in a wide variety of cases for clients located throughout the nation and around the globe.

 

About Colson Hicks Eidson

Colson Hicks Eidson is a renowned law firm based in Miami, Florida, that is recognized as one of the top trial firms in the United States. Built on a foundation of over 50 years of dedication forging strong client relationships, Colson Hicks Eidson handles local, national, and international litigation, with cases spanning from Miami, Florida, and throughout the United States, to matters in the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Europe. Learn more at: www.colson.com.

North Carolina (April 20, 2023) – Pennsylvania attorney Robert Mongeluzzi, a Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky founder, has been dubbed in the press as “the master of disasters.” He sends a 45-minute videotape consisting of case-specific liability and damages to the decision maker at the defendant’s insurance company.

“The decision maker is rarely in the room at a settlement conference or the mediation,” Mongeluzzi said. “They’re usually in some corporate tower in Chicago, New York or London. But the one time I know I can talk to them is when we have a settlement film.”

Florida attorney Curtis Mine, a Colson Hicks Eidson partner and an expert in structured settlements, said the Sunshine State “punches above its weight” in consolidating multidistrict litigation and class actions.

“The average time for completion of a civil lawsuit from filing to completion, in past years, the Southern District of Florida is ranked first or second in the country,” Miner said. “As the stakes increase, the defense strength increase.”

While both attorneys litigate differently and in different states, they both share a common thread: They routinely obtain so-called nuclear settlements and practice among the six states, including California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The states account for nearly 65% of the nuclear verdicts, per a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform report.

“Nuclear settlements are a function of nuclear verdicts, and a recognition that going to trial is a risky proposition—both before and now,” said Lee Teichner, a partner at the Am Law 100 firm Holland & Knight.

Nuclear settlements, according to Robert Tyson, managing partner at Tyson & Mendes in San Diego, California, are either more than $10 million or are settlements in which non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, greatly exceed economic damages, such as medical bills.

Tyson explained to defense lawyers how to avoid runaway jury verdicts in his book, “Nuclear Verdicts: Defending Justice for All.”

This year, Tyson plans to publish a sequel with a more data-driven approach to the subject. Tyson has also developed software that uses artificial intelligence to advise insurance companies which of their cases is likely to end in nuclear verdicts.

Focus on Federal Appellate Courts
Thomas R. Kline, a founding partner of Kline & Specter in Pennsylvania, has taught at several law schools, including the Drexel University Thomas Kline School of Law. Kline routinely obtains these nuclear settlements, but objects to the name as a defense bar tactic.

Kline said there are restrictions placed in various states, which prevent jurors from returning eight-figure verdicts, which in turn prevents the lawyers from obtaining an eight-figure settlement. It is an example of the effort by insurance companies or governmental entities to restrict the damages that can be claimed and recovered.

“There’s a ‘Look what Texas is doing’ and then they try to do that in another state,” Kline said. “But each of these settlements are driven by the law in the state in which it is drawn. You can only change it in two ways: convince the highest appeals court or the legislature to change the law.”

And the stakes are high, as Miner of Colson Hicks said that future rulings by the federal appellate courts could change whether nuclear settlements continue to thrive in those six states in which nuclear verdicts abound.

Miner pointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit—an outlier—which entered a ruling last week on what class representative incentive awards are allowed.

The Eleventh Circuit reversed a nearly $10 million settlement over the brain performance supplement Neuriva after finding a class member had standing to object.

The Eleventh Circuit ruling affirmed the precedent set in Johnson v. NPAS Solutions.

The appellate court held that incentive awards for class action representatives that compensate them for their time and reward them for bringing lawsuits are prohibited.

Miner cited the recent trend of success in appeals of settlements based on standing as an example of what could drive defense reform if the concept spreads outside of the Eleventh Circuit.

The result could affect where nuclear verdicts are heard and thereby, without the threat of trial, alter the jurisdiction in which attorneys obtain nuclear settlements.

“The ruling could disincentivize potential victims of consumer fraud or consumer deceptive conduct, participating in class actions,” Miner said. “They may just say, ‘Well, I just don’t want to have to put in that kind of time to do it if there’s nothing for it.”

Florida (May, 2022) – Nationally recognized trial law firm Colson Hicks Eidson is pleased to announce that attorney Thomas Kroeger has been named partner at the firm.

Thomas Kroeger handles a wide variety of complex civil litigation and appeals, ranging from personal injury and product liability matters to complex civil litigation and professional malpractice matters. Prior to joining the firm in 2019, Thomas served for over 8 years as senior attorney for The Florida Bar where he handled novel and complex lawyer regulation cases before the Florida Supreme Court. He also lectured frequently on issues of professional responsibility and ethics. Before that, Tom served as an Assistant Public Defender for the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s Office where he tried over 20 jury trials to verdict. “Tom is a lawyer’s lawyer. He brings to every issue the eye of both a problem solver and strategist. He is a stellar advocate, whether it is in the courtroom, in a conference room, or on paper,” said Roberto Martínez. Thomas has represented clients in appeals before the Florida Supreme Court, Florida’s District Courts of Appeal, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal. 

Colson Hicks Eidson is a nationally recognized firm with over 50 years of litigation experience. Our legal team has diverse talents and expertise and is skilled at handling international, national, and local litigation in federal and state courts at the trial and appellate level. The Miami-based firm has a long track record of success and has gained a national reputation and respect among our peers throughout the country. We pride ourselves in being true trial lawyers, preparing every case with trial in mind and ready to try any case before a judge or jury. Our partners have extensive trial experience and we have a number of partners who are fellows in the American College of Trial Lawyers or the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. We are excited to bring these new partners to the team, as we know they will help us continue our tradition of excellence. For more information, please visit www.colson.com.

Miami (Jan 2022) Once again, the nationally-recognized trial law firm, Colson Hicks Eidson, has been recognized in the U.S. News & World Report, “Best Law Firms” 2022 edition by Best Lawyers. We are proud to share that Colson Hicks Eidson has been nationally recognized in the areas of:

In addition, Colson Hicks Eidson has been recognized regionally in the areas of:

Best Lawyers recognizes firms using a rigorous evaluation process. A law firm must have at least one lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America to be eligible. At Colson Hicks Eidson, the following six attorneys have been recognized in “Best Law Firms” 2022 in the following areas:

Dean C. Colson 

Recognized since 2001:

  • Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Commercial litigation
  • Personal injury litigation-plaintiffs

Joseph J. “Joe” Kalbac, Jr

Recognized since 2012:

  • Commercial litigation
  • Insurance law
  • Mass tort litigation and class actions for the plaintiffs
  • Medical malpractice law-defendants

Julie Braman Kane

Recognized since 2012:

  • Commercial litigation
  • Medical malpractice law-defendants
  • Medical malpractice law-plaintiffs

Roberto “Bob” Martinez

Recognized since 2005:

  • Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Commercial litigation
  • Criminal defense: white-collar

Curtis B. “Curt” Miner

Recognized since 2011:

  • Commercial litigation
  • Criminal defense: white-collar

Lewis S. “Mike” Eidson

Recognized since 2007:

  • Mass tort litigation and class actions for the plaintiffs

Best Lawyers recognizes only the top 5% of private practicing attorneys each year nationwide.

Congratulations to our esteemed attorneys for all their dedication.

Colson Hicks Eidson Trial Law Firm

The nationally-recognized firm, Colson Hicks Eidson, has more than 50 years of experience. Our diverse legal team is exceptionally skilled at handling complex international, national, and local litigation and arbitration. The Miami-based firm has a long history of success and has gained notoriety and respect among our peers.