Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Before Lynch, Chief Judge, Ebel *fn1 and Lipez, Circuit Judges.

Sadly, this court is once again addressing the legal aftermath of a small plane crash killing several people. It has been some years since we last had to decide such a case. See In re N-500L Cases, 691 F.2d 15 (1st Cir. 1982); see also Fed. Express Corp. v. Rhode Island, 664 F.2d 830 (1st Cir. 1981); Delta Air Lines, Inc. v. United States, 561 F.2d 381 (1st Cir. 1977). We affirm the entry of judgment for the United States against plaintiffs’ claim of air traffic controller liability in a highly fact based tort case. On the afternoon of January 5, 2002, a small Cessna Conquest airplane flown by Alexander Wojciechowicz crashed into high terrain in the Carribean National Forest near the El Yunque mountain peak in Puerto Rico. Wojciechowicz and his four passengers, members of his family, were killed. Plaintiffs, who include Wojciechowicz’s surviving relatives, his and his daughter’s estates, the aircraft’s registered owner, and the aircraft’s insurer, sued the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), 2671, alleging the air traffic controller on duty in San Juan, Marcos Santiago, was negligent.

After a twelve-day bench trial, the district court ultimately found that Santiago could not have reasonably foreseen Wojciechowicz would take the actions he did, which were in direct violation of a pilot’s duties, that Santiago’s actions or inactions were not a proximate cause of the crash, and that Wojciechowicz’s own negligence was the sole cause of the crash. The court also found that the controller had not violated any duty of care; but even if the controller did violate a duty, the court found that any violation did not cause the crash. The judge apportioned no liability to the government. Wojciechowicz v. United States, 576 F. Supp. 2d 241, 278 (D.P.R. 2008).

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

More From ALM

Premium Subscription

With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
View Now

Team Accounts

Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
View Now

Bundle Subscriptions

Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
View Now

Elite Trial Lawyers 2022 (ETL)

July 14, 2022
New York, NY

The National Law Journal Elite Trial Lawyers recognizes U.S.-based law firms performing exemplary work on behalf of plaintiffs.

Learn More

GlobeSt. ELITE Women of Influence 2022 (WOI)

July 25, 2022 - July 27, 2022
Park City, UT

GlobeSt. Women of Influence Conference celebrates the women who drive the commercial real estate industry forward.

Learn More

African Legal Awards (AFLA) 2022

September 02, 2022

The African Legal Awards recognise exceptional achievement within Africa s legal community during a period of rapid change.

Learn More

Commercial Finance Associate (Flexible location)

Duane Morris LLP seeks two commercial finance associates to join its strong and growing 190+ lawyer Corporate Practice Group. The ideal cand...

Apply Now ›

Litigation Associate

A highly regarded Orlando litigation boutique is seeking a business litigation associate with a minimum of two years of experience. The cand...

Apply Now ›

Commercial Litigation Associate

Duane Morris LLP has an opening in its San Francisco office for a commercial litigation associate to join its team. The ideal candidate wil...

Apply Now ›



Raynes & Lawn is proud to congratulate Harold I. Goodman on the prestigious honor of Lifetime

View Announcement ›



IN MEMORIUM: With a profound sense of sadness, McCormick & Priore announces that Harry A Short, Jr., a preeminent products liability defense lawyer in Philadelphia with a career that spanned over sixty-five (65) years, passed away on June 14, 2022.

View Announcement ›



Starr Gern Davison & Rubin, PC. Attorneys at Law are pleased to announce that SHELLEY L. STANGLER, ESQ. has joined the firm as of Counsel.

View Announcement ›