Bradshaw v. Bell Helicopter
Favorable Verdict Upheld On Appeal
July 1975, two Corpus Christi businessmen were severely
injured in the crash of a chartered Bell 47 helicopter.
Bill Edwards and David Perry represented the men in their
claim for damages against Bell Helicopter. During pretrial
preparation, Edwards and Perry learned that the helicopter
had crashed due to a defective design in its tail rotor
system which caused the rotor to fail. Moreover, Bell
Helicopter had been aware of numerous previous crashes
caused by the same problem, involving multiple deaths
and injuries. In spite of the fact that the company had
designed a new and improved tail rotor system, Bell refused
to issue a recall for the defective rotors that were
On April 24, 1978, after three weeks of trial, a Nueces
County jury rendered a verdict for the plaintiffs,
finding Bell at fault for its refusal to recall the
tail rotor system. Within a few weeks of the verdict,
Bell issued a mandatory recall of all defective tail
rotor systems, thus preventing future crashes. Although
Bell appealed the case, the jury verdict was affirmed
by Texas appellate courts.
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