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What is a Petition for Discovery?

September 10, 2014

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The plane crash involving four Case Western Reserve University students and documents filed in Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court on Wednesday have been the subject of television news segments on WKYC , ABC Good Morning America and Fox8. For those who have seen these reports and wondered about the process in question, an explanation may be helpful.

A Petition for Discovery is a little-used tool available to Ohio attorneys that allows us to search for the who, what, where, when, and why before having to file a lawsuit. We are able to use this discovery action to uncover the identity of potential adverse parties in this horrific plane crash: employees of T&G Flying Club, Inc. who maintained, serviced, or operated the aircraft; the President, Rush Chairman or event planner of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity; or any other potential adverse party to this action. The purpose of this discovery action is to find out as much information as possible before even considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a client. In a discovery action such as this, we request documents that describe the training of this young pilot, documents showing who paid for or sponsored the flight, and documents or records of previous flight history.

This petition also serves as additional notice to all named Respondents to preserve time-sensitive documents and information. Social media records including posts, comments, and "likes" could be essential to determining what really happened that night. These personal posts provide insight into the minds of the pilot and passengers on that fatal flight as well as their friends and family members who received messages or information about the activities that evening.

It is important to note that this discovery action is not an indictment on the fraternity, the flying club, the owner, or any other named individual. The family wants, and is absolutely entitled to, answers for why their son and three other young boys were killed that night, and the discovery action is a lawful mechanism to help them in this quest.

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