Updates On The Tropic Ocean Airways Lawsuit

Tropic DisposedImage from File

Updates On The Tropic Ocean Airways Lawsuit

In the Summer of 2018 Tropic Ocean Airways, LLC (“Tropic”) had filed lawsuits against their competitor Tailwind Air, LLC (“Tailwind”) as well as two of its former pilots. Tailwind is accused of gaining unfair advantages by hiring two specifically trained pilots and (allegedly) thereby obtaining confidential business information about Tropic and its customers. This information was then (also allegedly) the basis for unfairly obtaining a contract with their joint business partner BLADE, who acts as an indirect air carrier in New York. The lawsuit specifically refers to one of the defendants as Tropics “Chief Pilot”, implying/ alleging that hiring that particular pilot was of specific relevance for Tailwind in obtaining critical internal and confidential information.

Tropic Ocean Lawsuit

Image via Tailwind Air, LLC

Various deadlines from filed motions, including Tropic’s request for enlargement of time in the process of serving one of the pilots; and further, responding to Tailwind’s Request for Production, have come and passed. Court documents indicate that Tropic has remained unresponsive to Tailwind’s “Request for Production”, filed on October 19, 2018. Tropic asked the court for Enlargement of Time on November 18, 2018.

[Editors Note: A Request for Production is legal speak for a parties desire to obtain and have disclosed documents related to, or backing up the other parties claims as part of the discovery or fact finding process. A Request for Enlargement of Time is the term used for asking the court to allow for more time in serving due process and legal documents to defendants. Florida Law spells this out in it’s Rules of Civil Procedure]

According to court documents on file under case number CACE 18016421 at the Broward County Clerk’s website, defendant Tailwind has now asked the court to compel plaintiff to respond to their request and there has been a newly issued Notice Of Hearing, requesting the presiding judge to compel Tropic to produce the required documents. The hearing is scheduled for Monday, February 11, 2019 at 8:45AM at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. Additionally, one of the defendant-pilots has asked the court to dismiss the case for failure to serve defendant in due time.

In Florida, a court has three options if a plaintiff fails to serve process within 120 days of filing the complaint. (1) The court may direct the plaintiff or opposing party that service be effected within a specified time; (2) dismiss the action without prejudice; or (3) drop the defendant as a party. The caveat of dismissing cases without prejudice is sometimes that it keeps doors open for refiling lawsuits or bringing counteraction, though.

Recently, Tropic Ocean announced its new Aviator Career Enhancement” Program (ACE) which allows pilots who seek careers within the airline world, to reach their goal in an accelerated and more structured manner, while flying seaplanes. Tropic’s President Rob Ceravolo, who also serves as the Seaplane Pilots Association’s Field Director for Florida has stated that his airline makes significant investments into the seaplane – and aviation industry by allowing Tropic’s pilots to benefit from Tropic Ocean Air’s strategic relationship with Endeavor Airlines.

Related: Shoreline Aviation Is Seeking Seaplane Pilots

6 Comments on "Updates On The Tropic Ocean Airways Lawsuit"

  1. There goes my seaplane association membership. Like all members, I had no idea of this going on. Despicable to say the least. Thanks for pulling the curtain up! Keep up the good work! Walter

  2. Frederick R. Carpeaux | January 23, 2019 at 8:07 am |

    The actions that have been taken by Rob Ceravolo and Nick Veltre do not come as a surprise from what I have read. Looks like the only way Tropic Oceans can retain pilots is by locking them into a $10,000-$20,000 promissory note, and if you leave they’ll come after you. The ACE program looks like more smoke and mirrors with a joke of a “guaranteed interview” at Endeavor. I wonder if the other two board of directors are aware of the current distress within Tropic Ocean Airways, that is unless Mr. Delta and Mr. Goldman Sachs are the only reason Tropics doors are still open. After all the events that Tropic has swept under the rug and from what I have gathered, I am blown away that they are willing to put themselves in the spotlight and continue to sue their former employees for just trying to make a living as a professional pilot.

    Frederick R. Carpeaux

  3. I am not pilot and found this while searching for our next Florida trip. Are there any other seaplane outfits you can recommend? Looks like booking with them isn’t going to be an option. We’ve done the helicopter tour with the guys at Blade in NY last year.

  4. Very serious topic. Just read the whole thing and also looked at the court documents. I think it takes a highly qualified writer to bring such a bunch of legalese into a form that people without a law degree can understand. Well done! Thanks for your work!

  5. Unbelievable! Hard to believe that a company like this can exist in today’s day and age. Especially shameful for the seaplane pilots association. How can you have a field director running around out there and suing seaplane pilots???

  6. Crazy stuff keeps happening in the sunshine state but good to see coverage on this sad issue. Please check your email for additional information about how pilots are treated there. Anyone applying for a pilot job with them is effectively contributing to this race to the bottom. I used to fly there and completely left the seaplane industry. You fly to nice locations, but pilots are treated like crap there.

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