First Lawsuit Filed in Plane Crash Which Killed Six Georgia Residents

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All were from Northwest Georgia en route to North Carolina.

Mrs. Ruggiero and her children are devastated and we are certain the other families are as well.

Louise Ruggiero of Acworth filed a lawsuit (Polk County Georgia - CL12600) in Polk County Superior Court today claiming damages for the wrongful death of her husband, Frank Ruggiero. This is the first lawsuit filed arising out of the February 1, 2008 plane crash in Mount Airy, North Carolina which killed all six on board.

The aircraft, a King Air C90A, departed Polk County Airport/Cornelius Moore Field in Cedartown en route to Mount Airy/Surry County Airport in North Carolina. According to the lawsuit, the pilot, John Wesley Rakestraw, was negligent in failing to maintain control of the airplane during landing causing the crash.

"This is a horrible tragedy for all of the families involved, not just the Ruggieros," said Gary C. Robb, a well-known aviation accident lawyer from Kansas City, Missouri who filed the suit. "Mrs. Ruggiero and her children are devastated and we are certain the other families are as well."

Robb has obtained some of the highest air crash verdicts in the country. His 1995 jury verdicts of $350 million and $70 million in back to back trials rank among the highest verdicts in U.S. history. He recently obtained a $26.5 million recovery for the family of David Drye, a prominent North Carolina real estate developer who died in a plane crash. He won a $38 million settlement for a horribly injured woman in a Grand Canyon air crash. Robb also represented the family of Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan who died in a plane crash in 2000.    

The lawsuit names three defendants: The Estate of John Wesley Rakestraw, the pilot, Blue Sky Airways, Inc., which owned and operated the C90A airplane, and Raker Construction Company, of which Rakestraw was CEO and owner and for which Rakestraw was doing business at the time of the flight.

"We believe from the facts we have reviewed that this was business flight to promote the interests of Raker Construction Company," said Robb. "All of those aboard had an ongoing business relationship with Raker Construction or were in a position to employ Raker for public works projects."

According to Robb, the pilot had fewer than 800 total flight hours of experience. In addition to his wife Louse, Ruggiero leaves two adult sons, Angelo, 25 and Anthony, 23 in addition to Adrianna, 15. He was employed by the Facility Group in Smyrna as a Senior Vice President.

In addition to Rakestraw, the others aboard were Harold Echols of Hiram, Steve Simpson of Dallas, Robert Butler of Chamblee and Tony Gunter also of Acworth.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages from all of the defendants.

For further information please contact:

For Plaintiffs:     Gary C. Robb of ROBB & ROBB LLC in Kansas City, Missouri (816) 474-8080.

For Defendants: Glen E. Stinson of GLEN E. STINSON, P.C., Dallas, Georgia (770) 443-9481.

ABOUT ROBB & ROBB LLC: The Kansas City personal injury law firm of Robb & Robb LLC was founded in 1984 by Gary C. Robb and Anita Porte Robb. Over the past 24 years the firm has obtained over $750 million in verdicts and recoveries on behalf of victims of personal injury and wrongful death. The firm has handled many precedent-setting, important, high-profile and complex personal injury and wrongful death cases in Missouri and nationwide, including catastrophic truck, bus, and automobile accidents.

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