The children of 56-year-old Birger Greg Bacino, a San Diego resident who died last summer in a Los Padres forest plane crash, are suing the deceased pilot, David Martz; the airplane’s owner, Poddoubnyi Alexandrovich; and Pacific Coast Flyers — the club that rented out the Cessna 182F — for negligence that led to their father’s death.
Bacino was a trial lawyer turned business owner. His company Premier Medical Management Systems was charged in 2007 in a multimillion-dollar workers’ compensation scam. Bacino previously pled guilty to “capping,” illegally soliciting business for a law firm. In 2014, he lost a $14 million personal bankruptcy case to La Jolla Bank. Most recently, he worked at Ftlb LLC, a medical management company he cofounded. On August 6, Bacino hired Martz to fly him from San Diego to an August 6 business meeting in San Luis Obispo.
One of the last people to see Martz alive that night at the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, a pilot in training, told The Santa Barbara Independent she noticed Martz because “he wasn’t drinking.” “It’s really bizarre they would just crash,” she added in a phone interview.
Around 10:10 p.m. August 6, Martz sent out a “mayday” radio call seconds before the Cessna went down in a remote area of Los Padres National Forest. The next morning, authorities found Martz and Bacino dead inside the plane, which crashed on rugged terrain near Don Victor Trail.
The complaint, filed March 23 in San Diego County Superior Court, alleges the Carsbald flying club known as Pacific Coast Flyers “negligently and carelessly maintained, repaired, rebuilt, prepared, fueled, inspected, and rented the Cessna 182F, which was a substantial factor in causing the [plane] to experience mid-flight failures causing the crash” that killed Bacino.
The complaint further charges that Martz’s “carelessness and negligence” in flying the plane — which he did with a suspended pilot’s license — contributed to Bacino’s death, and that Alexandrovich and the club knew or should’ve known Martz was unlicensed to fly.
Brody and Siena Bacino seek damages, lawsuit fees, and “loss of emotional support” (which would be determined by a jury). Because they are minors, Dann Shuetz acts as their guardian in the case. Representing the Bacino children is San Diego-based law firm CaseyGerry.
According to prosecuting attorney David Casey Jr., “[O]nce we file, we can get subpoenaed records to get maintenance reports on the plane” from Alexandrovich and the flying club. He anticipates Amanda Bacino, another claimant and heir to Birger Greg Bacino, will join the lawsuit. Pacific Coast Flyers declined to comment on pending litigation.