Dentist sues late pitcher's estate over plane crash

Updated: March 1, 2007, 8:21 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- A dentist to the rich and famous has filed a $7 million lawsuit against the estate of late New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, claiming his home was destroyed when the ballplayer's small airplane crashed into his apartment building.

Dr. Lawrence Rosenthal says in court papers that after Lidle's Cirrus SR-20 aircraft crashed into the Manhattan building where he lived with his wife and teenage son, they had to vacate their 43rd-floor apartment.

Rosenthal, whose patients include Donald Trump, Bruce Springsteen and Catherine Zeta-Jones, said his apartment sustained "severe damage, including broken windows, smoke damage, loose bricks and extensive other damage" that forced them out.

The plane, with Lidle and flight instructor Tyler Stanger aboard, hit the Upper East Side building on the 30th floor, 13 floors below Rosenthal's apartment, on Oct 11. Lidle, 34, and Stanger, 26, were killed in the crash.

The two had taken a midday flight past the Statue of Liberty and north up the East River. They apparently had trouble when they tried to turn and head south.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigated, but its report said it reached no final conclusions about the cause of the accident, nor did the agency's report say who was at the controls when the airplane crashed.

Rosenthal's lawyer, David Jaroslawicz, said Thursday that "everything was destroyed" in his client's home and the family has been renting while waiting to return. He said their home is actually three apartments joined to make one apartment that is worth "several million dollars."

Rosenthal's lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Manhattan state Supreme Court, names Lidle's wife, Melanie Lidle, as the defendant in her capacity as administrator of her husband's estate.

A lawyer for her, Robert N. Clarke Jr., issued a statement saying attorneys for the Lidle and Stanger families had filed wrongful-death lawsuits against Cirrus Design Corp., maker of the airplane, in California. He said the lawsuits allege product liability, negligence and other complaints.

A spokeswoman for Cirrus Design didn't immediately return messages left on her office phone and cell phone Thursday.

Rosenthal was in the news in January, when he sued best-selling dating-book author Ellen Fein for $5 million after she called him a quack on the LyingDentist.com and BadDentist.com Web sites. She accused him of ruining her mouth.

The lawsuit accused Fein, author of "The Rules," of defamation, harassment and extortion.

Fein's lawyer, Ann McGrane, said she planned to file a motion to dismiss Rosenthal's lawsuit, and she said she was sure it would be granted.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press