Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,400+ case briefs...

Johnson v. Jacobs

Indiana Court of Appeals
970 N.E.2d 666 (2011)


In the midst of a divorce, flight student Eric Johnson crashed a Cessna into his mother-in-law’s house with his eight-year-old daughter aboard. Neither survived. Beth Johnson (plaintiff) sued flight instructor Tony Newbold, the Lawrence County Aviation Board, and the County Commissioners (defendants) for her daughter’s wrongful death. Beth claimed that failing to properly secure the airplane and allowing Johnson to take off without a flight instructor, with a passenger, when he was not qualified or certified, proximately caused the crash. Eric had obtained keys from an employee who recognized him as a flight student with a scheduled flying lesson that day. But instead of taxiing out and waiting for an instructor, Eric took off with his daughter aboard. He called Beth three times during flight, yelling and cursing. Twenty minutes later, two witnesses saw the Cessna approach the airport as if it were going to land, except it had wind at its tail and no landing flaps down. An experienced pilot heard the engine throttle increase, then the plane banked hard and nosed down at 45 degrees into Beth’s mother’s house. The National Transportation Safety Committee ruled suicide the probable cause of the crash. The trial court concluded that Eric’s intentional criminal acts provided superseding intervening cause, severing any causal connection between any alleged negligence and the crash, and granted summary judgment against Beth. Beth appealed, arguing that the trial court erroneously concluded that Eric committed suicide and murdered his daughter, although the crash could have been accidental.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Baker, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 496,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 496,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,400 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial