Lawsuit: Repair work done in Mattituck caused California plane crash

07/23/2019 6:00 AM |

The family of a San Francisco man who died in a plane crash in California in 2017 is now suing a former Mattituck company that allegedly did work on the plane’s engine in Mattituck before it crashed, according to court papers.

William Sachs Goldman, a philanthropist and professor, was killed July 13, 2017, in Schellvice, Calif., when his private single-engine Cirrus SR22T aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Sonoma Skypark Airport.

Mr. Goldman’s family is related to Levi Strauss, founder of the jeans company, and Mr. Goldman was involved in numerous charities.

His widow, Serra Falk Goldman, an attorney, filed the lawsuit in United States District Court’s Eastern District of New York last Tuesday, and named as defendants Mattituck Services Inc., Continental Motors Services Inc., Continental Motors Inc., Cirrus Design Corporation and 30 other unidentified “John Does.”

Ms. Goldman sued individually, as a representative of the Estate of William Goldman, and as a representative of the estate of a child, Marie Goldman, who also died from injuries sustained in the crash.

She also filed on behalf of a second child, George Goldman, who suffered permanent injuries in the crash, according to the lawsuit. A guardian, later identified as Valeria Anselmi, was also injured in the crash.

(The lawsuit lists the children only by their initials, although they are named in Mr. Goldman’s obituary.)

The lawsuit says that on July 13, 2017, at about 12:45 p.m., Mr. Goldman was piloting the plane with the two children and Ms. Anselmi, a nanny, as passengers.

“The plane’s engine stopped running suddenly and without warning, causing the aircraft to crash to the ground,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit says that Mattituck Services and Continental Motor Services “were and are business entities engaged in the business of overhauling and repairing aircraft engines, including the engine installed” on Mr. Goldman’s airplane.

Although Mattituck Services was acquired by Alabama-based Continental Motors Services in July 2014, the lawsuit claims that the “negligent overhaul and repair” of Mr. Goldman’s plane occurred at Mattituck Services’ facility in Mattituck.

A preliminary report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board said several witnesses reported hearing the engine “sputter” a few times as it passed them. They then heard a louder sound and shortly afterward observed the airplane’s parachute system deploying at a low altitude, according to the report. Conditions that day were clear with wind speed at 6 knots, according to the NTSB. A final report has not yet been issued.

Cirrus Design, a Minnesota-based company named in the lawsuit, was “engaged in the design, manufacture, testing, inspection, approval, production, distribution and sale of aircraft and structural parts,” including the plane Mr. Goldman owned, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit is filed in federal court in New York because the “negligent overhaul and repair” of Mr. Goldman’s plane took place in Mattituck, the lawsuit states.

It continues: “The overhaul of the subject aircraft’s engine occurred at ‘Continental Motor Services Mattituck,’ a self-described ‘one-stop shop’ service of owners and operators of Continental Engines.”

The suit says the plane’s engine and component parts were designed, manufactured and distributed by Cirrus Design; its engine and component parts were designed, manufactured and distributed by Continental; and prior to the crash, the plane’s engine was “improperly inspected, overhauled and repaired by Mattituck Services and Continental Motor Services.”

The companies named in the suit “were negligent in that the maintenance, control, overhaul, or repair” of the plane was “improperly performed, rendering the subject aircraft in an unsafe and unairworthy condition by reason of defects in the inspection, overhaul and repair of the engine and its related components.”

The suit claims the defendants are guilty of negligence and breach of warranty and says they have “strict liability” in the case.

The lawsuit seeks damages, but doesn’t specify what damages or how much, asking that this be determined by a jury trial.

No attorney is listed for the defendants in the case.

A message seeking comment was left with Continental Aerospace Technologies in Alabama, where the Mattituck Services name is still used, but there was no response by press time.

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