Husband of late sports reporter Carley McCord files lawsuit against plane owners


LAFAYETTE, La. (WDSU) — The widower of the late WDSU sports reporter Carley McCord has filed a lawsuit in Lafayette related to McCord’s December 2019 death.

McCord, the pilot and three other passengers were killed when a small plane they were in “violently crashed to the ground” shortly after takeoff in Lafayette, according to the suit. One passenger survived.

The twin-engine, eight-passenger plane was headed to Atlanta for the Peach Bowl, where the LSU Tigers defeated Oklahoma Sooners. The plaintiff and McCord’s husband, Stephen Ensminger Jr., is the son of LSU’s offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger. The suit was filed on May 6.

Ensminger’s attorney Jonathan Pedersen tells WDSU the other passengers who died, as well as the surviving passenger, filed similar lawsuits in Lafayette the same day Ensminger’s was filed.

Ensminger’s suit claims the plane’s owners and operators were negligent in the selection, operation, maintenance, custody and control of the plane and that they posed an unreasonable risk of harm to McCord and other passengers.

McCord, referred to in the lawsuit by her married name Carley McCord Ensminger, suffered from acrophobia, “commonly known as fear of flying,” and was told before the crash the plane was “going down.”

“Upon learning that a crash was imminent, though the moment of her untimely death onboard PiperN42CV, Carley McCord Ensminger experience severe emotional trauma and panic, as well as shock and damage to her nervous system and psyche,” the suit states.

The plane caught fire after crashing, which suit suit claims caused McCord “virtually unimaginable pain and suffering until the moment of her untimely death.”

The defendants include Cheyenne Partners LLC, Eagle Air LLC, Global Data Systems Inc., Southern Lifestyle Development Company LLC, which are each named as owners and operators of the Piper N42CV plane. Insurers Sompo International Holdings and Endurance American Insurance Company are also named as defendants.

The complaint notes visibility was low that Dec. 28, and that the owners and operators of the plane failed to properly inspect maintain and “correct dangerous and unairworthy conditions” of the plane. It also claims the late pilot lacked experience or training to fly that particular plan in “less than ideal meteorological conditions,” which it says was the case that day.

Stephen Ensminger Jr. is represented in the suit by Pedersen, D. Douglas Howard Jr. and Shawn C. Reed, whose law firm is based in New Orleans. The suit states Ensminger has experienced “extreme mental and emotional distress” as a result of his wife’s death.

McCord, who also worked for Cox Sports Television, ESPN3, and as an in-game host for the New Orleans Saints, was honored last week by the Freedom Forum.

The litigation seeks damages for wrongful death, mental anguish, funeral experiences, loss of love and affection, and, on behalf of McCord, for bodily injuries and suffering she endured leading up to her death.

By: WDSU Digital Team

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