Assigning Responsibility for a Fatal Helicopter Crash

Assigning Responsibility for a Fatal Helicopter Crash

When a helicopter operated by a Finnish company crashed into the Baltic Sea – killing all 14 aboard, including two Americans –the company’s executives suspected a design defect was the cause. Facing harsh criticism and the prospect of brand-damaging litigation, the company had to take action not just in the courtroom, but in the Court of Public Opinion as well.
Problem 
When the company filed a lawsuit against the helicopter’s manufacturer, it had to maximize U.S. media attention to pressure the opposing side to accept responsibility and settle the case.
Approach 
Influenced by LEVICK counselors, industry trade publications raised awareness of the alleged defect among executives, pilots, suppliers, and regulators. Public awareness was further compelled by general media attention to safety threats for those residing along chopper flight paths in metropolitan areas.
Results 
The case soon settled on most favorable terms for the Finnish company.