Over $1 Billion in verdicts and recoveries
Handling Catastrophic Cases
Nationwide Since 1984
Call Us Toll-Free 1-800-474-1339
KANSAS CITY 816-474-8080
Forbes - March 16, 2009

Litigator v. Helicopter

By Stephane Fitch

No toy: Attorney Gary Robb is by far the most successful helicopter-crash trial lawyer in the country.

Seven years ago Lori Schrempp, a flight nurse with Faith Regional West Hospital in Norfolk, Neb., was racing to fetch an accident victim for transport to another hospital when the Eurocopter AS350 medevac helicopter she was riding in fell to the ground. She was 41, a wife and a mother of two.

Enter Gary Robb, the most successful helicopter-crash plaintiff attorney in the country. His wins include the biggest and second-biggest jury verdicts ever in such cases–$350 million and $70 million–as well as the largest out-of-court settlement, for $38 million. Last April Robb notched another win when Eurocopter and suppliers wrote Lori’s husband, Jeffrey, and the spouses of the other two crash victims a check for $18.4 million.

Robb’s business is booming. A rash of nine fatal crashes involving medevac helicopters occurred in the 11 months ended October 2008, claiming 35 lives and prompting the National Transportation Safety Board to hold hearings in February. Representative James Oberstar (D–Minn.) plans Capitol Hill hearings in a few months.

Robb, 53, has 25 active cases now. He says he wants to use his expertise to cut back demand for his work. The sunny Kansan sits forward in a chair in his posh office on the 39th floor of a downtown Kansas City skyscraper and says: “I’m sick of seeing people die in preventable crashes.” He tells clients that he will never sign a nondisclosure agreement with a manufacturer, even if it means a bigger settlement.

As part of the settlement with Lori Schrempp, Eurocopter, the manufacturer of the chopper, agreed to change its design for a crucial hydraulics-system reservoir called an accumulator. The accumulator had been sealed, so maintenance people had no easy way to routinely inspect the fragile rubber bladder inside for the damage that he says led to the crash that killed her. Eurocopter promised to have the part inspected every 100 hours. Eurocopter admitted to no wrongdoing in the case.

Robb accuses hospitals of pressuring air ambulance pilots to fly in dangerous weather, lured by the lucre that helicopter pickups bring in. He also targets tour guides who fly too close to waterfalls or mountainsides in order to impress clients.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it’s considering regulations that would cover use of ground collision-avoidance warning systems, night-vision goggles, more training for pilots and flight dispatchers and further efforts to improve risk assessment for flights in poor weather.

“It’s time we put a fence at the top of the cliff rather than an ambulance in the valley below,” says Robb.

The two highest jury verdicts in the United States in helicoptor crash trials

The two largest pre-trial aviation settlements in U.S. History for a single injury in a helicopter crash


Achieving civil justice and punishing wrongdoers to avoid future tragedies.


Settlement for flight nurse's severe burn injuries in crash of medical helicopter (United States record).


Robb & Robb Named as Cover "Super Lawyers" for 2007

The Bulldog & The Ballerina


The Golden Couple

How Two Former Defense Lawyers Became One of the Most Successful Plaintiffs’ Duos in the Country


Record $82M Recovery In Helicopter Crash Cases

Highest Amount Ever Collected in Death Suits


Litigator v. Helicopter

Attorney Gary Robb is by far the most successful helicopter-crash trial lawyer in the country.


Lawyer Becomes "Go-to-Guy" After Helicopter Crashes

The family of a Louisiana man killed in a helicopter crash.


Fight for the Justice You Deserve

We pride ourselves on being available when you need us. If you need to speak with us at any time, please do not hesitate to call or email us for assistance.



    Call for a free consultation

    Phone: 816-474-8080

    Toll-Free: 1-800-474-1339



    One Kansas City Place
    Suite 3900
    1200 Main Street
    Kansas City, Missouri 64105