Texas Supreme Court declines to review $1.7M aviation verdict

By David Yates | Jun 20, 2017

HOUSTON – The Texas Supreme Court will not review the top aviation verdict for all of Texas in 2013. 

The Houston-based law firm Arnold & Itkin secured the judgment, totaling nearly $1.7 million, on behalf of Derek LeBlanc, who was injured in a helicopter crash while on route to work on an oil platform in the Gulf. 

Defendant PHI Inc. had appealed the verdict. In 2016, the 13th Court of Appeals upheld the judgment. 

On June 16, the Texas Supreme Court issued notice that it has denied further review of the case, assuring that the appellate decision stands. 

Arnold & Itkin  

“The appellate court noted in their decision that some of PHI’s appellate claims clashed with their trial arguments,” said Cory Itkin, LeBlanc’s attorney.

“We’re pleased that after years of delays, we are able to secure a recovery for our client and hold PHI accountable for the shoddy maintenance of their helicopters.  Hopefully, the court's decision will make them reevaluate their maintenance program so this type of incident stops happening.”

Nearly seven years after the helicopter crash, LeBlanc will receive compensation for the injuries he sustained, which with interest, now totals more than $2 million.

Case background

On June 10, 2010, LeBlanc, a fire and safety inspector for offshore drilling platforms, and another offshore worker were being transported by helicopter from Calhoun County to a platform in the Gulf of Mexico, court records show.

For unknown reasons, a component in the tail rotor drive-shaft system failed. The pilot made a controlled landing on the water and inflated the six emergency flotation devices on the bottom of the aircraft. One of the inflation hoses had been installed reversed, resulting in two of the floats not inflating properly.

The helicopter rolled over, into an upside-down position. The pilot and passengers escaped from the cabin and held onto the skids of the helicopter to await rescue boats, which arrived 10 or 15 minutes later.

The helicopter transportation service was PHI and the flotation-device manufacturer was Apical Industries, which was also a defendant in the litigation.

Supreme Court case No. 16-0382

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