Judge brings back helicopter crash case against Jeffrey Soffer

Suit claims Soffer was in control when helicopter went down in 2012

Feb.February 18, 2016 10:30 AM

The Third District Court of Appeal just breathed new life into a lawsuit that reportedly accuses billionaire Jeffrey Soffer of being the pilot behind a fatal helicopter crash.

The suit was filed by Daria Gogoleva, whose husband Lance Valdez was one of the passengers aboard an Aerospatiale Twin Star helicopter when it crashed nearing its landing zone in the Bahamas on Thanksgiving Day four years ago.

Soffer, a U.S. real estate magnate whose firm Turnberry Associates is involved in SoLeMia  one of Miami’s largest developments to date, was in the co-pilot’s seat, the suit said.

The pilot, David Pearce, was in control for a portion of the flight, according to the Daily Business Review. But Gogoleva’s suit claims Soffer was the one who caused the crash that killed her husband and injured Soffer, Pearce and passengers Paula Riordan and Dan Riordan.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Daryl Trawick had previously dismissed the suit’s claims of wrongful death, conspiracy and fraud. But on Wednesday, the state appellate court allowed Gogoleva to amend her claims against Soffer and the Riordans, as well as Turnberry Associates executive Alex Krys.

Gogoleva’s suit claimed the passengers lied to her about who was in control when the helicopter went down and tried to trick her into releasing them from responsibility, according to the Review.

Soffer’s lawyers denied the claims to the Daily Business Review. [Daily Business Review]Sean Stewart-Muniz

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