Family of Former Basketball Player Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

November 13, 2001

The family of basketball player Daniel Lawson, Jr., who was killed in the Oklahoma State University plane crash on Jan. 27, 2001, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the plane’s owner and pilot’s estate in Oklahoma City District Court. Daniel, along with teammate Nate Fleming, six staffers and broadcasters associated with the team, as well as the pilot and co-pilot were all killed when the team plane crashed while returning from a game in Colorado.

Lawson, a junior at Oklahoma State University, was a native of Detroit. He attended MacKenzie High School where he lettered three years in both basketball and cross country.

According to Kevin J. Cox, attorney for the (Lawson) Estate, “We were forced to litigation because the plane’s insurance company, United States Aviation Insurance Group, discounted the Lawson family’s loss and repeatedly refused to pay the liability insurance proceeds in a way that would permit them the right to sue manufacturers and others whose products and negligence contributed to the crash.”

After obtaining court permission to examine the plane’s wreckage and parts, which are owned by the insurance company, it was learned that the plane used was 26 years old and allegedly not maintained properly (no maintenance records were produced). The wreckage not only confirmed an electrical failure, but a history of electrical failures. The examination also showed that the pilot had enough non-electrical instruments and should have been able to land the plane safely despite electrical failure.

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