Utah residents seek removal after workplace helicopter accident

By Audrey Holsclaw | May 2, 2008

CHARLESTON -- A Utah resident and his wife are seeking a removal to the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia because they are seeking more than $75,000 in damages following a helicopter accident that has left the husband severely disabled.

On Sept. 11, 2006, Robert Shaw was standing on the ground at a work site and attempting to guide a helicopter pilot in the delivery of a drill suspended to the helicopter by a 130 foot line. The pilot moved the helicopter too close to some nearby trees and the rotor blade of the helicopter caused a tree branch to fall and hit Shaw.

At that time, Shaw was working for Heli-Port Drilling, Inc., who was hired by the defendant Dawson Geophysical Company to perform well-drilling preparations in a mountainous site in Roane County. There were no access roads to the site, and Heli-Port's services were required to fly in and perform the drilling.

Another defendant, Trans Aero Limited, has been listed as it was hired by Heli-Port to deliver and land the drilling equipment at the Roane County site. The Shaws believe that Trans Aero violated the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' safety standard regarding hazard and site surveillance. Trans Aero Limited is also not authorized to transact business in West Virginia, but according to the suit, has done so in the past.

Filed by Guy Bucci of the Charleston firm of Bucci, Bailey, & Javins and Edward Havas of the Salt Lake City firm of Dewsnup, King, & Olsen, the suit states that Shaw suffered severe injuries when the branch, approximately ten feet long and ten inches in diameter, hit him. He suffered a clavicle fracture, a pneumothorax, a rib fracture, a second and fourth vertebrae fracture, and a knee injury.

He and his wife are seeking compensation for extreme physical pain, mental anguish, and suffering; permanent physical impairment; past and future lost wages, benefits, and earning capacity; loss of capacity to enjoy life; past and future medical expenses; annoyance and inconvenience.

Because the Shaws reside in Utah, Dawson Geophysical Company is a Texas corporation, and Trans Aero Limited is a Wyoming corporation, as well as the amount of damages being sought, the Shaws believe the case should be removed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. They are seeking a trial by jury to award punitive, compensatory and general damages as well as attorneys' fees and interest.

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