NYT travel columnist comments on air crash, gets sued in Brazil

by Walter Olson on December 5, 2008

Joe Sharkey, a well-known travel columnist for the New York Times, was aboard an Embraer business jet in Brazil that collided with another plane but managed to land safely although all 157 aboard the other plane died. Sharkey later discussed the episode on one of his blogs, and was quite critical of Brazilian air traffic control and some others involved in the affair. Now, according to an Oct. 16 press release, the widow of one of those who died on the other plane is suing Sharkey for having “launched personal attacks against Brazil’s President, air traffic controllers and other notorious individuals and, repeatedly and piercingly, started offending Brazilians indiscriminately”. “Only amends will restore the widow’s dignity,” states Rosane Gutjhar’s lawyer, Oscar Fleischfresser, who may have one of the best lawyer surnames ever (Fleischfresser = carnivore)(Aero-News.net, Oct. 21; JREF Forum; O Estado de Sao Paolo/ATC Brasil). In a presumably unrelated sidelight, a federal court this summer turned down an attempt by Brazilian survivors to file injury claims for the crash in the U.S., ruling that they should instead be heard in Brazil, where the awards are likely to be much lower.

{ 1 comment }

1 Bill Poser 12.06.08 at 2:05 pm

Even assuming that the blog post was defamatory of some people in the Brazilian air control system, how does the widow of one of the passengers have standing?

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