A lawsuit accusing supermodel Elle Macpherson’s husband Jeffrey Soffer of causing a fatal helicopter crash has been withdrawn less than a month after it was filed.
No explanation was given for why the wrongful death suit was withdrawn.
The $100 million lawsuit filed by Daria Gogoleva, whose husband Lance Valdez died in a helicopter crash on Thanksgiving Day 2012, accused Soffer — an amateur pilot whose license would not allow him to fly a helicopter — of improperly taking the controls of the chopper and then trying to blame the crash on a professional pilot whom Valdez had hired.
The suit included an account from pilot David Pearce saying that Soffer asked to take the controls while the helicopter was in the air. The suit also claimed that Pearce, who told authorities that he was in control of the helicopter, changed his story and said that Soffer was flying.
According to the Miami Herald, Lance Valdez arranged the helicopter ride as a way to get Soffer, a longtime friend, and two other traveling companions to an exclusive island resort during a visit. Daniel Riordan, an executive at the Soffer family’s real estate firm, and his wife, Paula, were also injured in the helicopter crash.
Lawyers for Jeffrey Soffer, who owns the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, called the federal lawsuit a fabrication when it was filed on December 9.
“We were not surprised by the decision to withdraw this lawsuit, which was riddled with factual errors and unfounded accusations,” lawyer Bob Martinez said in a statement Thursday. “The case collapsed… before we even had a chance to respond, confirming that it was a frivolous lawsuit.”
Jeffrey Soffer and the Riordans signed over their insurance claims to Daria Gogoleva, which resulted in the mother of three receiving a $2 million payment.
Soffer and Elle Macpherson began dating in early 2009, and broke up in March 2012. The couple reconciled following the helicopter crash and became engaged in March 2013. Soffer and Macpherson were married in July at the Laucala Resort in Fiji. It is the second marriage for Macpherson, who was previously married to photographer Gilles Bensimon from 1986 to 1989.
[Photo credit: startracksphoto.rex]