Defendant Sky-Diving Instructor’s Duty of Care (Re: Training) Did Not Extend to the Unforeseeable Conduct Which Resulted In the Plane Crash
Plaintiff was injured in a plane crash which occurred as the pilot was attempting to pull a skydiver back into the plane. The hatch door opened unexpectedly on take-off and a skydiver, against the pilot’s instructions, stood up and attempted to pull the door closed. Plaintiff had completed a one-hour skydiving course offered by defendant prior to the flight. Plaintiff alleged that defendant breached his duty to provide proper training for the pilot, instructors and other skydivers. The court determined defendant owed no duty of care to the plaintiff with respect to the unforeseeable conduct which occurred on the plane:
“The existence and scope of a duty of care is a question of law for the courts entailing the consideration of relevant policy factors” … . In making such a determination, “the courts look to whether the relationship of the parties is such as to give rise to a duty of care . . . , whether the plaintiff was within the zone of foreseeable harm . . . and whether the accident was within the reasonably foreseeable risks” … . “[T]he law draws a line between remote possibilities and those that are reasonably foreseeable because [n]o person can be expected to guard against harm from events which are . . . so unlikely to occur that the risk . . . would commonly be disregarded’ ” … .
We conclude that defendant established as a matter of law that the plane crash at issue was not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of defendant’s alleged failure to provide adequate training. Although the risk may now readily be perceived with the benefit of hindsight, we conclude that the plane crash due to the hatch door opening and the response of the pro-rated skydiver was not “within the class of foreseeable hazards” associated with defendant’s alleged failure to provide proper training … . We thus conclude that defendant had “no cognizable legal duty to protect [plaintiff] against the injury-producing occurrence” …. . Tiede v Frontier Skydivers, Inc., 2015 NY Slip Op 05311, 4th Dept 6-19-15