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Judge dismisses widow's lawsuit in 2010 crash of military plane training for Alaska air show

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A judge has granted the state's request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the widow of one of four men killed when a military cargo plane crashed in 2010 while training for a popular Alaska air show.

U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick said the flight was a military operation and therefore immune to litigation, according to the Alaska Dispatch News (http://bit.ly/1EQrVXm ). He threw out widow Theresa Dayton's lawsuit Monday.

Dayton's attorney argued that doctrine was not applicable because Dayton's husband was a member of the Alaska Air Guard and could be considered a "borrowed servant of the state."

The C-17 military cargo plane crashed during a training demonstration for the Arctic Thunder air show at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The wreck killed three Alaska National Guardsmen and one active-duty Air Force member: Capt. Jeffrey Hill, 31; Maj. Aaron "Zippy" Malone, 36; Maj. Michael Freyholtz, 34; and Dayton's husband, Master Sgt. Thomas Cicardo, 47.

An Air Force probe found the pilots ignored a stall warning system and used incorrect procedures when trying to regain altitude. The plane crashed in a wooded area about a minute after takeoff, damaging a section of the Alaska Railroad.

Dayton sued the state in December 2012. Her attorney argued Freyholtz developed and used unauthorized flight maneuvers to appear more impressive to air show viewers.

Cicardo was the only one of the four men who was not a pilot. He worked as a guard loadmaster and was responsible for planning cargo and passenger placement.

Dayton's attorney did not return a call for comment Tuesday.

Alaska filed its own complaint against the U.S. and the estates of the flight crew, arguing they were working as employees of the federal government when the plane crashed. That case was moved to federal court before also being dismissed.


Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

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