Tort Law

Widow Sues Widow Over Small Plane Crash Into IRS Office, Alleges Duty-to-Warn Breach


The widow of an Internal Revenue Service employee killed after a suicidal pilot apparently intentionally crashed his small plane into a Texas office building has sued the pilot’s widow.

In addition to alleging that pilot Joseph Stack operated the Piper Cherokee in a negligent manner, the Travis County District Court suit filed yesterday by Valerie Hunter also asserts a negligence claim against Sheryl Mann Stack. As Stack’s wife, she should have warned others who were foreseeably at risk from her husband, the suit contends, including 68-year-old Vernon Hunter. He died of “conflagration injuries” after Stack’s plane struck his Austin office, reports the Austin American-Statesman.

“Stack was threatened enough by Joseph Stack that she took her daughter and stayed at a hotel the night before the plane crash,” the suit alleges, contending that she should have recognized the risk her 53-year-old husband posed to others.

Thirteen individuals were injured last Thursday, when Stack, angry about tax issues, according to an apparent suicide note, crashed his plane into the office building. However, only he and Hunter were killed.

Attorney Dan Ross represents Valerie Hunter. He says the initial focus of the wrongful death suit is to determine what insurance and assets may be available to pay damages, the newspaper reports.

The article doesn’t include any comment from Sheryl Stack or her lawyer.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Apparently Angry at IRS, Pilot May Have Intentionally Crashed Small Plane Into Office Building”

ABAJournal.com: “Suicide Pilot Was Angry About Tax Law Affecting IT Professionals”

Associated Press: “IRS worker’s widow sues Texas suicide pilot’s wife”

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