A year to the day after Payne Stewart died in a plane crash, his family filed a lawsuit today against the craft's owner and operator.
The lawsuit accuses Sunjet Aviation Inc. and Jet Shares One Inc. of negligence and says that the company could have prevented the accident in which six people including the current US Open Champion, lost their lives.
Lawsuits also were filed by the families of three others who died in the crash, Stewart's agents, Van Ardan and Robert Fraley, and golf-course designer Bruce Borland.
According to the lawsuit, the fateful Learjet's cabin-pressure system wasn't properly inspected, maintained or repaired and the oxygen-supply system and a valve in the engine weren't properly maintained and the plane's crew failed to take proper corrective measures in the emergency.
"Defendants knew or should have known from the maintenance history of the aircraft that it was un-airworthy and unsafe by reason of a dangerously defective cabin-pressure system," the 11-page lawsuit said.
The plane Stewart was on departed Orlando on Oct. 25, for Dallas. Radio contact was lost with the plane as it passed north of Gainesville. The flight continued on auto-pilot until it ran out of fuel and crashed in South Dakota.