Charley Gallay/Getty Images, AP Photo/Brett Flashnick
UPDATE: Defendant Clay Lacy Aviation released this additional statement to E! News on Nov. 25:
"We want our valued customers to know the Clay Lacy Aviation did not own or operate the aircraft involved in the accident nor did we provide the aircrew. Clay Lacy referred Mr. Barker to another certified charter company who became the primary operators of this tragic trip. Any aviation accident diminishes all of us in the industry. We are deeply saddened by this terrible accident and extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families and victims."
Travis Barker is seeking a different kind of closure.
The former Blink-182 drummer has filed a negligence lawsuit against the owner and makers of what he claims was a "defective" Learjet that crashed Sept. 19, killing four and leaving Barker and Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein with severe burns. (View the lawsuit.)
Per court documents filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Barker's camp believes that "one or more of the tires failed, leaving tire debris and portions of airplane components along the 8,600 foot runway" and the pilot made a "negligent attempt to abort the takeoff."
"The pilot's decision was a breach of their duty owed to the passengers onboard and was a substantial factor in causing the crash and resultant injuries and deaths," the suit continues.
Moreover, the jet's "landing gear, tires, wheels, brakes, reverse thrust system, squat switches and component parts were not airworthy."
Earlier this week, the Federal Aviation Administration released recordings from the fateful flight in which copilot James Bland, who also died in the crash, could be heard saying, "Roll the equipment; we're going off the end [of the runway]."
The plane then ran off the runway, striking airport lighting, navigational facilities and a perimeter fence, crossed a highway, and crashed into an embankment.
An investigation being conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board into the circumstances surrounding the crash is currently under way, but may take as long as a year to complete.
Learjet manufacturer Bombardier, Inc., charter services Clay Lacy Aviation and Global Exec Aviation, and Goodyear Tire and Rubber are named as defendants, all of whom, according to the complaint, are liable for Barker's "pain and suffering, mental anguish, psychological and emotional distress and disfigurement and pre-impact fear of death and burning."
Thelma Martin Still, the mother of security guard Charles Still, who died in the accident, is also party to the suit. She and Barker are seeking at least $25,000 in damages.
And, according to one expert, they definitely have a case.
"When you are a passenger on an aircraft the pilot and the company that leases the plane and flies the plane are responsible for passenger safety and to get them safely to their destination," said attorney Mary Schiavo, a former FAA employee who is not involved in this suit but has experience with aviation litigation. "Anyone on that plane would have an extremely good case."
"In most cases, if the proof points to the pilot error you would look to their employer, as long as they were performing in the scope of their duty...When you hit that speed [153 mph] you are trained from your beginning days as a private pilot on up is you have to go,” Schiavo tells E! News. “But they may have blown a tire, so who knows what their options were."
Barker and DJ AM had chartered the private flight to Los Angeles after playing a free show at the University of South Carolina. In addition to Still, Barker's assistant Chris Baker, pilot Sarah Lemmon and Bland, the copilot, were all killed.
At least one of the defendants, however, says that it was in no way involved in the crash.
"We were not involved, not our aircraft or our crews,” Duke Tonry, public information officer for Clay Lacy Aviation, tells E! News. “We don’t understand the connection and we haven’t been informed of the lawsuit. We are often called for referrals and while I was not personally involved in this trip we are talking about, maybe we were called and [we] referred [them] to [Global Exec Aviation]."
A rep for Global Exec had no comment on the litigation.
—Additional reporting by Ashley Fultz
(Originally published Nov. 21, 2008 at 5:10 p.m. PT)