When You Look Up "Ungrateful" In the Dictionary, You Will Find This Lady

Via Overlawyered, from here:

Lisa jumped out of the plane with Robin Rohemo, her tandem partner, and that's when it got really thrilling - the main parachute failed to deploy and Lisa hurtled toward the ground, somersaulting in the air, terrified of imminent and certain death when she'd smash into the [ground] at 100 miles per hour.

Luckily for Lisa, Mr. Rohemo knew exactly what to do during this mid-air free fall. First, he tried to cut the failed main chute off. Failing that, he told Lisa he needed her to stand on his knees and hold on. Lisa's words: "So I am holding as tight as I possibly could standing on his knees as we are falling to our death and I just felt this tremendous pressure pull on my hand ... and I figured we were going to die ...." Rohemo was able to free up the back-up chute, he and Lisa floated down to safety and no one died that day.

Whew, what a thrill. Maybe Lisa should've paid extra for the additional thrill. Instead, because her third and fourth fingers were fractured during the fall, she lawyered up and sued SkyDive claiming that Rohemo - her savior - had wrongfully told her to hold tight to a dangerous area of the parachute he was trying to cut away and then never told her to let go at an appropriate time. This, she and her lawyer claimed, presented Lisa with an enhanced risk not assumed or inherent in a tandem jump.

I don't know enough about parachuting to understand if she should be ticked off her main chute was packed wrong or something, but since that is not the basis of the suit, I assume that was not the issue.  Nevertheless, I would be sending Mr. Rohemo a case of scotch every Christmas for the rest of his life.  Lisa is suing him.


  1. Michael:

    A quick check and you find that 1 in 1000 to 1 in 5000 jumps has a main chute failure depending on how you define failure. Tandem jumps move the failure rate closer to 1000 since the options for correcting a chute problem are reduced. I think anytime you voluntarily exit a perfectly good aircraft at a few thousand feet you create "enhanced" risk.

    I'd like to see the contract she signed. There's got to be something in there about injuries, equipment problems and death.

  2. Mike C.:

    I would pay good money to be on the jury that hears this one.

  3. nom de guerre:

    as you say, what an ungrateful lowlife scuzzbucket whelp she is. odds are, she was an only child. ("never marry a woman whose father calls her 'princess'. chances are, she believes it.") hmmmm.....i wonder if i can guess her political affiliation? *sigh* mysterious are the ways of God: my beloved dogs both die of cancer within 3 months of each other, and He lets THAT lowlife live.

  4. Michael:

    Since we are heading down this path. I though the instructor should have said there is good news and bad news. The good news is that there is a back up chute. The bad news is it can only handle one person so I'll look for you on or in the ground Lisa.

  5. Methinks:

    I hope the case gets tossed out of court. This woman is a disaster who deserved the fate which her partner spared her.

  6. Frederick Davies:

    They say that there is a fool born every minute; this just proves there is a bastard born as well!

  7. Methinks:

    her name is Lisa NUTley?? Awesome.

  8. me:

    Sorry to show my foreigners lack of understanding of the American judical system - can a judge order the appellant spanked?

  9. Cloudesley Shovell:

    The case already has been tossed. A NY appellate court affirmed summary judgment in favor of the skydiving company.

    Follow the link provided by Coyote (the one that goes to newyorkinjurycaseblog). Lots more interesting information there about the case.

  10. happyjuggler0:

    This is a great example of why "loser pays" would be a great reform.

    If you lose your lawsuit, you pay the other party's legal costs, or "reasonable" legal costs. If you can't afford to pay, your lawyer pays.

    Under such a system, guess what happens to ridiculous lawsuits such as this? Yes, they don't happen in the first place, and society is better off for it.

  11. Roy:

    "lawyered up"? Gotta add that to my vocabulary. I love it. That phrase (term?) captures so much.

  12. HS:

    Heh. Maybe it was done on purpose to get money into the company as well as provide publicity. If not, wow, that's pretty idiotic of someone to sue after signing those papers. Oh yeah, not to mention, ungrateful.

  13. elambend:

    Ms. Nutley has a bad attorney who should have a) known the limits to the case and b) read her contract and known the dangers of having to pay if they lost.

    They did lose and now:
    "So that's the end of this case, right? Wrong. The waivers that Nutley signed included language that, in a lawsuit such as the one Nutley started here, she'd have to pay SkyDive's attorneys fees and litigation costs. While this type of contractual provision is generally disfavored in New York, Nutley failed to defend against it (her lawyer neglected to serve a so called reply to defendant's counterclaim asserting its right to legal fees and costs) so this issue is still alive.

    Inside Information:

    * SkyDive offered $5,000 to settle several times
    * SkyDive intends to pursue its claim for legal fees and costs which by my estimate could exceed $50,000"

    So there is some justice.

    On a side note, it has seemed to me, that people are much quicker to sue in the northeast, particularly the greater NY area for smallest of offenses. I seem to recall the woman who sued the little leaguer for an errant pitch, among others. Having lived out there for college, I always felt that this was a major downside of the more aggressive culture out east. (there are upsides I believe).

  14. Mike:

    Sort of related.

    We know a woman who participated in a tandem jump, but in her case both chutes failed, so she and the instructor crashed into the ground. By some miracle, neither was killed, but both were hospitalized for a LONG time with multiple fractures and internal injuries.

    They are now married and have two children.

  15. Peter:

    Having been a skydiver I am familiar with the waiver she signed which generally includes everything up to and including gross negligence (if that can be waived). The one I signed said that the skydiving company wasn't responsible for anything that occurred on the premises, on the plane or in the air regardless wether or not it had anything to do with skydiving.
    What I don't understand is how the instructor was able to give her any sort of instruction while in freefall as verbal communication is impossible. Secondly in the tandem rig the student is in front of the instructor and usually lower down. So I can't see how she was able to stand on the instructors knees or hold anything other than her own harness.
    On the bright side she probably will never go skydiving again which will generally make the sport more enjoyable for those continuing to do so.

  16. Noah D:

    "Ms. Nutley has a bad attorney who should have..."

    ...said something along the lines of "Lady, you walked away from a chute failure on a tandem jump with two broken fingers? You shouldn't be in my office, you should be in church! Now get out."

  17. mjh:

    I also am a former skydiver w/850(ish) jumps. I quit right before my first child was born. I agree with Peter. I see no way for communication to have taken place, nor do I understand why she would stand on anyone's knees. Nor why that instruction, impossible to hear, would even be given. I also don't see any way, unless she was a contortionist, that her hands could have been anywhere near the reserve ripcord. Take a look at this picture:


    The guy is the instructor, the woman is the passenger. The yellow handle on the instructor's harness, just below hiss left shoulder, is the reserve ripcord. If the main were partially deployed, the passenger would be hanging even *lower* than this one is and even further away from the ripcord. I don't get it.

    Apart from the fact that this was a tandem reserve ride, there is a ton of things in the story that I am unable to fathom.