We wrote last month about the $100 million lawsuit filed against a Florida billionaire over a 2012 helicopter crash in the Bahamas that killed a prominent tax lawyer. We observed that following the lawsuit would be most entertaining. It now appears my assessment was correct. The widow of Lance Valdez filed the wrongful death suit in a Miami federal court against real estate magnate Jeffrey Soffer, a billionaire who owns the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. The widow’s lawyer filed a voluntary withdrawal of the first suit last month.
But the widow subsequently filed a second wrongful death suit against the pilot of the craft, who she now says was none other than Jeffrey Soffer. She claims that Soffer “coaxed her” into signing a release in exchange for a $2 million insurance payout. Just days after withdrawing her complaint in federal court, Daria Pastouhkova Gogoleva, the widow, filed the second suit in a Florida state court on behalf of herself and her three children.
Mrs. Gogoleva claims that Soffer and the three other surviving members of the crash conspired to hide the fact that he was flying the aircraft. She contends that the four individuals represented to her and others that a licensed helicopter pilot, David Pearce, was in control of the helicopter at the time of the crash. She now says that Soffer was flying the aircraft. Stay tuned for further development in this litigation.
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