What' the purpose of this lawsuit?

Lewis Katz was killed almost two years ago when his Gulfstream jet crashed on takeoff. According to the NTSB there was lots of blame to go around; some pilot error, some design flaw.

His two children just sued for $250 million stating the standard, “suffered the loss of his income as well as his companionship and guidance, and have endured mental anguish over his death.”

Here’s the thing, Lewis Katz was rich. Fabulously rich. 1% rich. His net worth was estimated to be $400 million. It’s not like he just won it in the lottery the day before he died; he bought an NHL & NBA team in 2000. I’m assuming that since Dad was a multi-multi-millionaire for decades that the kids weren’t paupers either. Now they’re each roughly $200 million richer.

Assuming they negotiated a deal with their lawyer for only a 20% stake; they’d each get roughly another $100 million each. Yes, to almost all of the Dopers that would be life changing money, but to them I don’t really think so. A 50% increase in my net worth would have an impact on my life/retirement but this seems like me suing for $100. Is there much one can afford/do with $300 million that one can’t with only $200 million? So what’s the real reason for this lawsuit?

Do you need a better answer than greed?

More money is a good thing, right? I wouldn’t even call it greed.

Asked and answered.

Buy another NHL team? As of 2015 there are six teams with valuation between $200 million and $300 million.

Perhaps his children feel that they have suffered some damage as the result of the loss of their father, and that this loss was due to some negligence on the part of the parties they are suing.

Perhaps the issue is not gaining money, but punishing the people who negligently caused the death of their father.

Sp, what’s the point of suing the pilot? He’s dead, and it’s only his estate that will be punished if the suit has merit.

Because if you don’t sue the pilot, his estate is not a party to the suit and the other parties can put all the blame on him with no one to rebut those claims.

This is well above 1%. The threshhold for 1% is somewhere in the high single digit millions of net worth.

I kind of doubt gazillionaires are hiring lawyers on a performance contingency percentage basis. Direct hourly billing seems more likely.

To hijack my own thread…wouldn’t the estate be settled 22 months after death? Can if be forced to clawback money from the beneficiaries to defend itself in this case?

I don’t know about that, but the pilots doubtless had occupational liability insurance, and it would be the insurance company(ies) who would be expected to defend their estates.

You are assuming that his children inherited the bulk of his estate. How sure are you that this is the case?

Many wealthy people give their kids enough to make sure they won’t die poor, then give the rest to charities or foundations.

I could see such children suing their own deceased parent if a case could be made that he contributed to his own death, and getting the inheritance he wanted to go to others paid to them as “damages” for the loss of a parent and emotional distress.

Everything is relative.

Although the OP points out that the wealthy man killed didn’t simply ‘win the lottery’ they go on to describe the lawsuit in just those terms, being greedy and wanting a big ‘cash settlement’. Not everyone (wealthy people in particular) thinks that way. It may very well be just on principle (the pilot or aircraft may have been at fault)…

My understanding is that insurance companies will often require a lawsuit before they pay out the claim (or rather, they will offer a token payment and expect the issue to be resolved in court), even if the plaintiff doesn’t personally feel its necessary. This probably has more to do with the insurance company trying to recoup its losses from the defendant’s estate, rather than any actual malice or greed on the plaintiff’s part.

Yeah, any time you get pissed when somebody sues someone else, remember they’re really suing that someone else’s insurance company, and it’s less offensive that way. It’s one thing to say someone is suing their 8 year old nephew, it’s another to realize that they’re actually suing his parents’ cheapskate insurance company, who wouldn’t pay a dime otherwise.

Sometime it isn’t even the other guy’s insurance company that is getting sued.

I heard about a case a year or two ago (it may have been a couple of years old at the time) where …

A young woman was killed in a traffic accident, but by a car running a red light driven by a man who did not have insurance. She had insurance to cover her damages (including funeral expenses) in the event of an accident where the other driver was at fault and didn’t have insurance. That company refused to pay.
Under the laws of Maryland, you cannot sue an insurance company for breach of contract if they refuse to pay a claim.
So, the parents had to sue the driver who had caused the accident and get a court ruling that it had been caused by his negligence. Then they could use that to try to force the insurance company to pay. (They felt really bad about this, as he was a nice guy who had been truly devastated that his carelessness had killed someone.)

What raised this to the level of national news was two things:

  1. the lawyer who represented the other driver in court was employed by the insurance company. (The insurance company denied he was representing the defendant, but the court records showed him as the defendant’s council.)
  2. the deceased’s brother was a modestly popular blogger.

I saw this case cited as an example by a company offering a course in social media relations. They pointed out several mistakes made here, including never lie publicly about facts that are a matter of public record, and never assume the people you are screwing don’t have an audience.
And pointing out that in retrospect, it was obvious that paying the claim would have been cheaper than the damage done by people making a meme about how you hired a lawyer to defend the man who caused your client’s death.

To paraphrase Montgomery Burns: “I would give everything I have for just a little more of it.”