Philly firm unsuccessful in keeping NTSB from posting plane crash findings, loses wrongful death suit

By Nicholas Malfitano | May 19, 2015

PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia law firm seeking injunctive relief and a temporary restraining order against the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has had its requests denied by a Philadelphia federal judge.

The Wolk Law Firm filed the complaint on May 4 on behalf of its clients Rebecca Hetzer Young, Anise Gothard Nash and Elizabeth Lampe, who are currently involved in a pending and separate wrongful death case in the Greene County Court of Common Pleas in Ohio, Young v. Elano Corp.

Young, Nash and Lampe represent the surviving family members of three individuals killed in a Grumman AA-5 aircraft crash at Ohio’s Lawrence County Air Park on March 3, 2005.

The crash claimed the lives of the plane’s pilot Michael Young, plus passengers Ginny Young and Charles Lampe, and is the event serving as the basis for the Young v. Elano Corp. litigation.

The complaint brought by The Wolk Law Firm sought a 30-day enjoinment towards the NTSB from publishing its “Probable Cause Determination” regarding the 2005 crash on its website, beginning May 4, feeling it would be “irreparably harmful” to the plaintiffs and the case of Young, Nash and Lampe, effectively denying them their right to a fair trial.

The 30-day enjoinment time limit, the plaintiffs said, would last for the duration of their clients’ wrongful death trial in Ohio.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs contacted the NTSB to remove the “Probable Cause Determination” when it was first published on April 7, and allegedly received a refusal to remove the information from the government agency one week later.

The plaintiff allege the NTSB’s “brief” investigation into the 2005 crash was unsatisfactory and arrived at incorrect conclusions with respect to the reasons for the crash by allegedly inviting the engine manufacturer to participate in the investigation, ignoring physical evidence and eyewitness accounts of engine malfunction and inferring toxicology conclusions without referring to proper evidence.

Court records indicate the motion for a temporary restraining order was thrown out by Eastern District Court Judge Lawrence F. Stengel on May 6 following a telephone conference with all parties involved. As a result of the temporary restraining order motion being denied, the plaintiffs dismissed their litigation five days later.

Meanwhile, the wrongful death trial in the crash that claimed the lives of Michael Young, Ginny Young and Charles Lampe has concluded.

The trial resulted in a defense verdict. Jurors found the defendants were not negligent, did not negligently design a muffler and did not negligently fail to warn about dangers associated with the muffler.

The plaintiff was represented by John Joseph Gagliano of The Wolk Law Firm in Philadelphia.

The defendant was represented by Thomas F. Johnson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, also in Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 2:15-cv-02459

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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