Liability: Epilogue to Disaster

On the morning of Dec. 16, 1960, a United Airlines DC-8 and a Trans World Airlines Super Constellation collided in the icy air over New York City. It was history's most disastrous air accident: all 128 persons aboard the two planes were killed.

Guided by one of the cardinal unwritten rules of negligence practice, lawyers for the relatives and heirs of the victims filed suit against everyone who might be involved—the Federal Aviation Agency, which was in charge of traffic control, United Airlines, and TWA as well. It mattered not a bit that after prolonged investigation the Civil Aeronautics Board...

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