Jury Awards Widow $7.2 Million for Death of Husband in Helicopter Crash During Movie Filming

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Widow was awarded $7.2 million by a Polk County, Iowa jury for the death of her husband during the filming of a movie.

On July 13, 2009, a Lenexa, Kansas widow was awarded $7.2 million by a Polk County, Iowa jury for the death of her husband during the filming of a movie. Roland Schlotzhauer, a cameraman, was filming a scene from The Final Season, from a helicopter when it crashed, causing his death. The lawsuit had alleged that poor planning and inadequate supervision by the movie producers, as well as pilot error, had caused the crash. (Schlotzhauer et. al v. Bristol et al, Law No. CL 102824, Polk County, Iowa). Mr. and Mrs. Schlotzhauer had been married 25 years. The couple had no children.

Gary C. Robb, a Kansas City wrongful death lawyer for the widow Kathy Schlotzhauer, said, "It is gratifying to Mrs. Schlotzhauer that the jury valued her husband's life more than the entire cost of making the movie."

The evidence at trial was that the entire budget for making the movie had been $7 million. During the trial, the movie production company had argued that pilot error was the cause of the crash. The jury assessed fault against both the pilot and the movie production company.

"We hope that this verdict serves as a wake-up call to the movie industry that safety must always come first," commented Aviation attorney Robb.

The Final Season was being filmed in rural Iowa in June of 2006 when the crash occurred. The helicopter carrying Mr. Schlotzhauer was engaging in low aerial filming when it hit a power line. The movie, which stars Sean Astin, tells the story of a Norway, Iowa baseball team. It was released in theaters as a major motion picture in 2007 and has since been released on DVD and to HBO. Other allegations raised in the lawsuit had included that the power line hit was not adequately marked, and that the helicopter lacked effective safety equipment.

About Robb & Robb, LLC:
The Kansas City law firm of Robb & Robb, LLC has long been recognized as the leading helicopter crash law firm in the United States. In March of 2009, Forbes Magazine recognized Gary C. Robb as "by far the most successful helicopter crash lawyer in the country." In 1995, Robb & Robb obtained the two highest jury verdicts in helicopter crash cases in the U.S., a $350 million jury verdict on behalf of a helicopter pilot who experienced an in-flight engine failure (Barnett v. La Societe Anonyme Turbomecca France, 963 S.W. 2d 939, Western District of Missouri Court of Appeals), and a $70 million jury verdict on behalf of a 20-year-old woman who was a passenger on board that same helicopter (Letz v. Turbomecca, 975 S. W. 2d 155, Western District Missouri Court of Appeals). This dedicated helicopter and airplane attorney also has the highest settlement in any helicopter crash litigation which involved a $38 million cash settlement in 2007 involving a young woman who was severely burned when her tour helicopter crashed in the Grand Canyon (Daskal, et. Al. v. Aerospetiale , Case No. A471961 Clark Co. Dist. Court, Las Vegas, Nevada).


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