Atty: Plane Mfg To Blame In Yankees Pitcher Cory Lidle’s Plane Crash

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and a flight instructor did everything they could to save their lives after the small plane they were piloting malfunctioned, causing them to crash into a Manhattan building, a lawyer for the men’s families told a jury Wednesday at the start of a civil trial.

Attorney Todd Macaluso said he will prove that Lidle and his instructor were killed because Cirrus Design Corp., of Duluth, Minn., failed to properly design the aircraft, allowing a deficient flight control system to remain in the aircraft even though there was a better and safer alternative available at a reasonable cost.

Lidle, 34, and his instructor were killed in the Oct. 11, 2006, accident. A federal safety panel concluded that the crash occurred because of “inadequate judgment, planning and airmanship” by Lidle and his instructor, Tyler Stanger, who misjudged a turn.

His wife, Melanie, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturer of the aircraft, alleging that a defective control system lead to the crash.

The lawsuit seeks more than $50 million in damages.

However, in its opening statement, the plane’s manufacturer argued that it was not to blame for their deaths.

Attorney Patrick Bradley told the jury in federal court Wednesday that Cirrus Design Corp. of Duluth, Minn., was so dedicated to safety that it installed a parachute that Lidle and his instructor, Tyler Stanger, could have triggered if they saw no other option.

In all, 100 of the 137 apartments in the Belaire building in Manhattan suffered water or smoke damage in the crash. There was also extensive damage to hallways on 28 floors, requiring partial or total restoration, including new carpeting and wallpaper.

Macaluso said he will show the jury plenty of evidence to convince jurors that the plane was hopelessly out of control.
He also said an employee of a power plant in Queens on the east side of the river will testify that the plane veered so close to the plant that he thought there was a terrorist attack under way.

He said Lidle and Stanger yanked so hard on the steering mechanism that it was bent.  “They did everything that a prudent pilot would do. There is not pilot error. There is no negligence,” Macaluso said.

Attorneys for Cirrus Design Corp. were due to deliver opening statements later Wednesday. The firm has said the plane is the safest of its kind.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • ilvedanny05

    This country is in ruins and partly because of frivolous lawsuits like this one. Nobody wants to take responsibility for THEIR own actions, fall into a water fountain at a mall because you were texting, sue the mall of course. This country needs tort reform and we need it fast.

    • Todd Fuller


  • Art

    Thurman Munson’s widow tried theme thing. I’m not sure how that turned out though.

    • Art

      That should have said ” the same ..”

    • Art

      That should have said “tried the same thing..”

  • pilot too

    “La Guardia tower, this is Cirrus November……, I am over the Northern limit by your airspace, request vectors West towards the Hudson River corridor, request heading and altitude, over”

    That is all this poor dead pilot had to do to chose life, PLEEEASE, do not fauly=t the machine for this unfortunate lack of a very simnple few words, that would brought them both to a safe and uneventfull resolve.

    • typo

      Correction, ” I am over the Northern limit of the East River Corridor,”

      is what I meant to say :o)


    the bottom line is there both dead ,D E A D and something faulty took place i dought it was just miss judgement !!!!!

    • a real unnecessary death at that

      Sorry bud but I am a flight instructor and an airline pilot, don’t mean to pop your bubble, but I said it like it is, it was a really dumb move, period.
      Vicarious liability then goes for anybody and their dog when they get up in the morning, at some point in your life (or in your death in this case) , when you make really stupid decisions, well……


    all they had to do is call La Guardia tower,the frequency is right there on their chart, the tower would 98 percent of the time, tell him what heading to follow, put them over the Hudson, and that would be it. Unfortunately,, the instructor that he brought with him was from California, and therefore unfamiliar with the procedures and the area, and made a series of really stupid, bad choices, and now they both are dead. So some greedy lawyer is trying to get his hands on some money, what elese is new?

  • dabooch

    If Lidel was pitching better he would of still been in the playoffs.

  • Dan Te

    The lawyer has a moot point….it was probably a stuck gas pedal that caused the accident.

  • Ed Koch

    You fly planes, eventually you DIE in planes. Same as motorcycles.

  • bob

    I was in lower manhattan that day, I am a pilot, and I saw his plane flying over the manhattan bridge and continue up the east river. The weather that day was not the kind I would have chosen to fly in, and poor judgement was most certainly the end result for this terrible accident. Poor judgement.

  • Roger

    why is it that when i click attack the of chinese food delivery man it goes to this story?

    • Confucius

      …because the food delivery man ALSO caused this crash. See, it all comes together!

  • waly

    Why would be believe anything CBS or any major network writes, when they all reported a Jet crashed into the Pentagon on Sept., 11 2001? There was not Jet. They kept saying it though…..but there was no Jet. No tires, no engines, no wings, no jet.

  • dan

    That right sue the airplane manufacturer for your husbands failure of good judgement. What the heck was he doing down between the buildings anyway?
    Note, if there was no declared emergency, they had no reason to be there…and this in itself was a big violation of FAA Rules and an obvious endangerment to the civilian populatin nearby.

    And if as she claims there was problems with the flight controls, two big questions emerge: 1) whay was no emergency declared? , 2) why where they attempting steep turns close to buildings instead of just transversing the area to a place where they could make an emergency landing? Last but not least…if they took off and exited the airport area successfully, it is doubtfull that there were any control issues other than the bad judgement of those in that airplane.

    An opinion af a 29,000 hr pilot.

  • Liberals are Evil

    I hope she gets nothing. Her lawsuit has no foundation and she is out for an easy buck.

  • SR

    Hello……………….. it was a 40/50 story building and its not like he just missed he couldn’t have been more on target, maybe the persons in the flight tower were sleeping, There’s a thought Ms. Lidle sue them too!!!!!

  • STEVE101

    In as narrow a corridor as they were in?? Look out the window and FLY THE PLANE!!!

  • David Cramer

    This lawsuit is doomed for failure as the facts of incompetence by the pilot and his instructor just leap out at you.

  • Steve

    He should have put more effort into baseball and less effort into flying. Neither of which he was good at. Another example of too much money in the hands of the wrong people. Looking at some videos of him piloting, it was obvious some bravado played a part in this accident.

  • crazy

    The fact that this case made it to trial and was not settled means that this greedy chick and her blood sucking lawyer will have very little chance of winning, unless they get a particularly stupid jury. Pilot error has always been, by far, the most common cause of small plane crashes. Strong winds and a tight turning radius caused these dummies to crash into the building, but of course, in this lawyer controlled, blame the other guy society, someone else with deep pockets must be harassed and we all end up paying for it.

  • Mike

    This gold digger has now run out of $$$ and it’s time to sue to get some free $$$ to continuing to support her living expenses instead of going out and earning a living. Why is there even a trial to begin with is outrageous. It’s so f@#$ed up. America’s legal system’s at work again. I’m wondering who’s benefiting out of this lawsuit? Hmm…let’s see, the lawyers and this gold digger.

  • BDAY55

    What happened to the Chinese guy?

  • m

    Did she ever collect his life insurance? There was some question as to who was actually flying the plane when it crashed and that could possibly affect the life insurance claim.

  • Richard T.

    GREED RULES! America has got a severe case of the ‘Sue Me – Sue You Blues’!

  • Aceof Spades

    Just someone who wants to continue living the high life but cant because she cant afford it. So she sues. How in the world would she know that it was a faulty control panel.

  • Joe Dee

    DannyDD, it wasn’t a helicopter,it was a small airplane. Ultimately, its her decision to go forward w the lawsuit, but I’m sure she is following the “advise” of some blood sucking, ambulance chasing,vampire lawyer, the true bane in our society!

  • Wolf

    Wow. Next she’ll sue the belaire condo because their building got in the way of her husband’s plane!!! Its these crazy lawsuits that cost all of us hardworking people money.

  • Crave

    OMG – UNBELIEVABLE… As a pilot myself – that crash was comlpetely self inflicted… It was caused by poor judgement and stupidity on the part of the “pilot in command”… I was in Manhattan on that day and noted the weather… The clouds were so low you couldn’t even see the tops of some of the buildings… A student pilot would know not to fly VFR in those conditions at that location… They were probably so full of thier own egos – they thought they could handle anything… Now the wife wants to sue the manufacturer with a law suit like this ??? Just some greedy woman looking for a payout from anyone she can… The people who were in the building they hit should be suing her !!!

    • Crave

      Yeah – it doesn’t seem like any instrument failure to me – they were VFR from takeoff – classic case of low ceiling scud running in the VFR corridor trying to avoid the hassles of dealing with ATC… It would be another extremely bad decision to deliberately fly into the smallest dead end VFR corridor in the country after discovering a problem with your aircraft… I’m sure Lidle had a backup altitude indicator…

      As per the NTSB: “This accident is a great tragedy in which a pleasure flight went horribly wrong and ultimately cost the lives to two young men,” said NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker. “The pilots placed themselves in a precarious situation that could have been prevented by better judgment and planning.”

    • stath

      I’m a pilot too and the instructor was IFR rated. There is no reason why they were that low unless it was instrument failure. A lot of these new aircraft have all digital displays. Without analog back up you literally fly blind if something goes wrong.

      • Shekky

        They entered Manhattan airspace flying at an altitude not much higher than when they crashed. They were clearly seen by persons on the ground prior to the crash. So they entered a narrow air corridor with instruments not working? Why fly with a student pilot in that area in the first place? Leave Teterboro and head west, plenty of open air that direction. Plenty of human error reasons besides equipment failure. What if the student was at the controls? They may have been trying to establish visuals and flying low. Or sight seeing or bravado, machismo or stupidity…pilots make mistakes and instructors have been known to make mistakes/look the other way when a famous student is paying them.

      • Frank D

        Duh! If you have to look up – the building is taller than you. Grab a 6 year old he’ll tell you that.

        Do you really need an instrument to tell you that?

  • Bell Toller

    This is a rdiculous lawsuit by his wife who is just playing the game of free lotto.

    • Frank D

      Rediculous? Since they are suing Lindle they are suiing 1/2 this widow’s new found estate. They are suing her money. Make sense now?

      Of course she wants to deflect blame from her (husband’s) money to the plane manufacturer’s money.

      • badman

        Frank D cuts to the chase. This is the most important fact in the whole story. Can’t believe that CBS wouldn’t mention it in their article.

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