Grossman Roth Clients Win $4.5 Million in War Zone ‘Hazard Pay’ Case
12/01/2010 // Coral Gables, FL, USA // Grossman Roth // Stuart Z. Grossman, Miami Trial Lawyer
The Miami trial lawyers of Grossman Roth, P.A. are pleased to announce a major victory for a courageous group of pilots and flight attendants who put themselves in harm’s way — and were denied the full pay to which they were entitled. Thanks to the efforts of lead trial lawyer and Grossman Roth partner David Buckner, co-counsel Ross Goodman of the Goodman Law Group, and Brett von Borke and Kenneth R. Hartmann of Kozyak, Tropin & Throckmorton, the case — a class-action lawsuit against Vision Airlines Inc. — resulted in a $4.5 million award for the plaintiffs. It also sent a clear message that employers need to live up to their obligations, particularly for employees who so bravely live up to theirs.
The multimillion-dollar award, handed down by a federal jury in Las Vegas, will be shared by the 175 crew members who make up the class. All contended that Vision, a North Las Vegas charter airline, had failed to provide the extra hazard pay due them for flying government missions into war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2005. Buckner — the newest partner at Grossman Roth and a former Assistant United States Attorney — says the case doesn’t end here. The next step is to seek an injunction requiring Vision to abide going forward by contracts calling for hazard pay.
The lawsuit, filed in January 2009, brought out a wealth of dramatic details on how the Vision flights were carried out: the crews flew difficult maneuvers, in missions that usually took place at night, to avoid enemy ground fire. Each of the 175 former and current Vision pilots and flight crew put their lives on the line with every flight — and in return were not paid one cent of the hazard pay owed them, until the jury did what Vision would not: the right thing.
“It’s a great result for the class,” Buckner said of the jury’s decision. “ It is always gratifying to see justice done.” In their filings with the court, the trial team noted that Vision itself had received extra hazard pay from the contractors that hired it to run flights in and out of hotspots in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it never shared that compensation with the employees who actually carried out the dangerous missions.
The courtroom victory wasn’t just about compensation, or fairness. It was about giving those who have been injured — whether financially or physically — a chance to recover; and to lay responsibility and accountability where it belongs. For more than a quarter of a century, that has been the goal of Grossman Roth. Through the years, we’ve built an enviable track record fighting for, and vindicating the rights of those harmed by others. In the process, we’ve become one of Miami’s most respected law firms for wrongful death, personal injury, child safety, products liability, and complex commercial litigation.
We’re proud of the Vision Airlines result — and of the lawyer who made the right thing possible. An experienced trial lawyer, particularly in complex commercial and class action litigation, David Buckner has an enviable track record of his own. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, the Harvard Law School graduate twice received the Department of Justice’s prestigious Director’s Award for Superior Performance. He helped prosecute the “Cuban Spies” case — United States v. Gerardo Hernandez, et al — in which the defendants were convicted of offenses including conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit espionage. David was also one of the prosecutors in United States v. Miguel Moya, in which a jury foreman was convicted of taking a bribe to press for the acquittal of two of South Florida’s most notorious cocaine importers.
Getting the right result doesn’t just require being right. It requires tenacity, dedication, commitment, and skill. Those are qualities that Grossman Roth demands in its attorneys. And as the Vision Airlines case shows, they are qualities that help fairness — and justice — prevail.
About Grossman Roth
For three decades, the attorneys of Grossman Roth, P.A. have been fighting for — and coming through for — those needlessly injured, financially or physically, by the actions of others. Along the way, Grossman Roth has become one of South Florida’s pre-eminent firms for wrongful death lawsuits, personal injury claims, complex business litigation and class action lawsuits — helping clients obtain the recovery they deserve.
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