FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Bob Hagemann, 704-336-2651
Kim McMillan, 704-336-2643
Late yesterday afternoon, Superior Court Judge Hugh Lewis dismissed a lawsuit filed by the estate and family of Delvonte Tisdale, the young man who allegedly fell out the wheel well of an airplane en route from Charlotte to Boston in November 2010.
Charlotte City Attorney Bob Hagemann stated that “while the City remains saddened by Mr. Tisdale’s death and sympathizes with his family, the Court’s ruling confirms our belief that the City should not be held legally liable for Mr. Tisdale’s decisions and actions.”
The lawsuit alleged that the City was liable for the wrongful death of Mr. Tisdale based on claims that the City breached a duty to reasonably secure the airport and failed to adequately warn the public of the dangers of entering a restricted area and boarding a plane as a passenger in the wheel well of an airplane.
In dismissing the case, Judge Lewis agreed that (1) nothing suggests that the City acted willfully or wantonly, the legal standard for a land owner to be liable to a trespasser such as Mr. Tisdale; (2) by allegedly entering a secured area and climbing into the wheel well, Mr. Tisdale was himself negligent; and (3) in providing security at the airport, the City owes a duty of care to the general public, and not to those who, like Mr. Tisdale, seek to breach security.
Mr. Hagemann noted that while the plaintiffs have the right to appeal, he is confident that Judge Lewis’ ruling will stand.