Summary Judgment for Flight School in Major Aviation/Educational Malpractice Lawsuit — Affirmed on Appeal
On March 1, 2012, the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed summary judgment on behalf of a flight simulator company that allegedly trained a pilot-in-command of a Cessna 421B one month before the pilot crashed the airplane during an approach to Palwaukee Airport in Wheeling, Illinois, resulting in multiple fatalities. Pretzel & Stouffer trial attorneys Ed Ruff and Mary Cronin were the first defense attorneys to file this Motion for summary judgment, arguing in a case of the first impression that Illinois should follow the majority of other jurisdictions in recognizing the educational malpractice defense. Several similarly situated “training” defendants joined in Pretzel & Stouffer’s motion and were also granted summary judgment. The Appellate Court premised its decision on several public policy considerations that militate against educational malpractice claims, as argued by Mr. Ruff and Ms. Cronin, including the inherent uncertainty about whether an accident is caused by negligent training or by matters such as a student’s attitude or experience. This case is certain to become a leading precedent in both aviation litigation and educational malpractice law.