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Lancaster County, Nebraska

The three decedents were aboard a Life Net of the Heartland medical helicopter manufactured by the defendant, Eurocopter, on June 21, ________. The helicopter had just left Norfolk Hospital with the decedents aboard. The decedents were a 41-year-old female emergency room nurse from South Dakota, the 43-year-old male pilot from Lincoln, Nebraska and a 40-year-old male paramedic from Sioux City, Iowa. The decedent pilot reported trouble almost immediately upon take-off when he felt escaping nitrogen gas. He reported that he was having a binding problem with the right pedal which controlled the pitch of the tail rotor. The plaintiffs contended that the helicopter crash was caused as a result of a rubber bladder inside a key component developing a hole in which hydraulic fluid was able to pass. The pilot followed the protocol, established by the manufacturer, for dealing with such an issue and shut down all hydraulics for the helicopter. The result was that the tail rotor became uncontrollable and consequently the helicopter began spinning, as reported by witnesses, before the helicopter crashed killing all three of the decedents. The plaintiffs alleged that the design required more frequent inspections of the tail rotor component, which was not performed.

The plaintiffs brought suit against the defendant manufacturer and five other companies involved with the helicopter at issue, alleging negligence for the death of these three individuals. The defendants maintained that gusty winds and the inexperience of the pilot with that particular type of helicopter contributed to the fatal crash based upon the NTSB report filed in the case.

The parties agreed to a settlement of $________, which was to be divided equally between the plaintiffs.

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