Who Gets to Talk: Should Plaintiffs Be "Parties" to an NTSB Investigation?
Created on November 10, 2017
The National Transportation Safety Board is charged with the objective investigation of transportation accident, including nearly all domestic aviation accidents. In conducting its investigations, the NTSB designates "parties" to the investigation, charged with assisting in the investigation and based upon the proposed party's ability to add value to the investigation. In a typical airline accident, "parties" will likely include the airline itself, the airframe manufacturer, and other component manufacturers, to name a few of the more obvious choices. The FAA gets automatic party status too. However, the persons having perhaps the greatest interest in knowing what went wrong, the accident victims and their families, are not permitted party status. Indeed, the NTSB investigation is meant to be insulated from the litigation process.
Frederick Alimonti and a distinguished panel of litigators and experts will discuss the basis for this rule, it's effectiveness, whether it's time for a change, and the risks/benefits of allowing plaintiff (and their counsel) a seat at the "Party Table."
- Identify the rationale behind the "Party System" and the rationale for excluding representation of the victims
- Examine the potential benefits and liabilities of including victim's representatives as parties
- Explore whether the NTSB investigation truly insulated from litigation in the first place
- Debate whether plaintiff's experts add value or confusion to the party process
- Consider whether a "hybrid approach" to party status might serve the needs of all
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