Frivolous Lawsuits: How to protect yourself

How to protect yourself.

You might think that the more detail you put into the maintenance record the more likely somebody can find something wrong with it or the work. This is partly true. But keep in mind that if you happen to have performed maintenance on an aircraft before an accident, you probably are going to find yourself in a lawsuit anyway. No doubt about it, even if you have insurance coverage. In fact, probably because you have coverage! The old adage . . . no insurance no lawsuit still stands to a certain extent.


How about being more explicit in the maintenance record about what you did not do while performing maintenance? Your stamp or printed statement can easily use some of the language of FAR 43.9 and give emphasis to the narrow scope of your work if appropriate:

"My signature constitutes approval for return to service of this aircraft ONLY FOR THE WORK I HAVE PERFORMED. I have not performed nor been authorized to perform any inspection of this aircraft nor have I reviewed or been authorized to review the maintenance records, including Part 39 compliance."

What I would like to see are various forms of a disclaimer for different situations reduced to a stick on and have the owner acknowledge (sign) the statement in the record or on the repair order or both. He should be required to sign a repair order to authorize any work. The more the owner understands the scope of your work the less he will be interested in chasing you for his problems. It won't guarantee it, however. If you have had any experience or difficulties with this particular AD (or any others) please forward your thoughts by email to

Remember, additional language in the record won't necessarily prevent insurance company lawyers and owners from laying a lawsuit on you, but it will sure make them think a little bit before they make their decision. That's all you can hope for.

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