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  #1  
Old 04-30-2012, 08:43 PM
Bill.Peyton's Avatar
Bill.Peyton Bill.Peyton is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Default Vans hold harmless and liability release

Ok, as a background, I purchases the emp from the original builder. All the other kits I purchased directly from Vans. I now am painting the fuse and have a number reserved, but want to go ahead and register the aircraft. To do this I need the bill of sale from Vans. The catch, they will only give it to you if you sign a release and hold harmless agreement. Kind of a surprise to me since I was never provided with anything that would have told me so at any time from Vans. My attorney is not real happy with the hold harmless clause.
I assume for those who are flying, that you signed the release. Did it include the hold harmless clause? For those who purchased the emp kit from vans, how were you made aware of this?
For those of you who do not know what a hold harmless agreement is, it dictates that you, the builder, will cover all of Vans legal expenses and any judgement against them.
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  #2  
Old 04-30-2012, 08:53 PM
alpinelakespilot2000 alpinelakespilot2000 is offline
 
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Everyone has to sign it and Van's would be foolish not to require everyone to sign it. Sounds like your attorney is being an attorney. He'd like to be able to sue Van's if you ever got hurt.
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  #3  
Old 04-30-2012, 09:06 PM
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Vlad Vlad is offline
 
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Sign it Bill, send to Vans and forget about it. Enjoy the machine.
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  #4  
Old 04-30-2012, 10:51 PM
Flying Scotsman Flying Scotsman is offline
 
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Posts: 1,256
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Although the quote from Henry VI, part 2 is almost always taken out of context*, I think oftentimes it's a very cogent phrase:

"First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers!"

My family has strict instructions...should anything happen to me in my plane, DON'T go after Van's or Lycoming or anybody else. It's my plane, I'm building, I'll take responsibility (and I have plenty of insurance, as well).

Steve

*The context: the quote is from conspirators who, wishing to start a rebellion, realize they need to get rid of those who know the law. Paraphrastically, if you want tyranny and injustice to prevail, get rid of the lawyers.
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  #5  
Old 04-30-2012, 11:36 PM
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aarvig aarvig is offline
 
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Location: KANE, Hugo, Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill.Peyton View Post

For those of you who do not know what a hold harmless agreement is, it dictates that you, the builder, will cover all of Vans legal expenses and any judgement against them.
Let me ask you this...who is building the plane to an airworthy state? That is the one who is responsible for whatever happens to the aircraft once it is flying. Your lawyer (with all due respect) is the reason aviation is so expensive in the first place. If you do not feel like signing the hold harmless clause...then please do not step foot into a Vans aircraft. Building and flying these planes comes with responsibility. YOU are where the buck stops. Vans is just making a bunch of parts. Sign it and fly it or sell it and move on.
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2012, 03:48 AM
terrykohler terrykohler is offline
 
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Posts: 1,062
Default You've Just Manufactured an Airplane

You might ask your attorney what protection you are afforded when you sell the aircraft at some point in the future. That would be useful information to share with other builders/buyers. I'm not sure if a builder has ever been enjoined in a suit or if any legal action has ever been successful when it comes to experimental aircraft.
Terry, CFI
RV9A N323TP
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  #7  
Old 05-01-2012, 04:45 AM
TS Flightlines TS Flightlines is offline
 
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Dont know about successful, but the John Denver case comes to mind. Wasnt the original builder part of that suit?
Tom
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  #8  
Old 05-01-2012, 05:37 AM
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Jeff R Jeff R is offline
 
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I believe you can call your plane whatever you want and register it however you want. If you register it as a kit, then you need to supply a bill of sale. If you don't register it as a kit, and you give the a/c your own name, then you don't have to supply a bill of sale.

This is not to get around the liability release and, if you call it something other than an official Van's, your ability to sue goes down even more. But, why would any of us want to sue Van's? We are the builders and we know what we are getting in to.

I signed the releases as I want to minimize the chance of my estate, should I die in my plane, to sue. I love what Van's has done for aviation and a major suit could crush them out of existance, and I would not want that to be the legacy of my death. I agree, at some point we need to kill (fire) the lawyers, take responsibility and and accept that accidents happen, and go fly.
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  #9  
Old 05-01-2012, 06:02 AM
RVnoob RVnoob is offline
 
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Location: London
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrykohler View Post
You might ask your attorney what protection you are afforded when you sell the aircraft at some point in the future. That would be useful information to share with other builders/buyers. I'm not sure if a builder has ever been enjoined in a suit or if any legal action has ever been successful when it comes to experimental aircraft.
Terry, CFI
RV9A N323TP
some one posted here awhile back:
He was not the builder, but owned the plane briefly and sold it.
The plane was in an accident, he was sued along with Vans, et, al.
When he posted, the case was not resolved, and he had already spent $50k in lawyer's fees.

Looks like the "hold harmless and liability release" should be in everybody's purchase and sale agreement as well.

Last edited by RVnoob : 05-01-2012 at 08:10 AM.
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  #10  
Old 05-01-2012, 07:38 AM
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Snowflake Snowflake is offline
 
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Location: Sidney, BC, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying Scotsman View Post
My family has strict instructions...should anything happen to me in my plane, DON'T go after Van's or Lycoming or anybody else. It's my plane, I'm building, I'll take responsibility (and I have plenty of insurance, as well).
Unfortunately, while your family may abide by your wishes, the underwriters of your insurance will not be so forgiving. They will go after anyone with money to recover any payout they make.

Quote:
As a buyer not a builder, Vans Aircraft sent me something similar when I emailed them as the new owner. I didn't balk as the form. I did balk as the requirement that it be signed and stamped by a notary. Is this only the case for buyers?
Vans sent me one of the same agreements to sign and have notarized after I bought my -6 and before they would sell me a builders manual for it (original was long gone). I sent it in, signed but not notarized, and haven't heard anything negative about it.
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Last edited by Snowflake : 05-01-2012 at 07:43 AM.
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