The father of a woman who died in a rocket explosion in 2011 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a Houston-based rocket firm and two of its executives, saying that the companies “fostered an environment that permitted” the death.
The lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas seeks $1 million in damages for the wrongful death of 23-year-old Rachel Kober of Austin.
The woman’s father, Eric Kober, told NBC News he was unaware of the lawsuit and was unaware that his daughter was suing the Houston-area firm.
Kober’s daughter, Sarah, died in the explosion at the Texas Institute of Technology (Texas Tech), according to the lawsuit.
She died in an explosion that destroyed a classroom at the school, according to a statement from the school.
Rachel Kober was studying to be an airman, according the statement.
She was born in April 2000 in Fort Worth and had attended the school for years, the statement said.
The family has asked that the court seek $1.5 million for Rachel’s estate.
A spokesperson for the Houston firm said that Rachel’s father had been notified of the suit, but that he did not know the details.
He was unaware the lawsuit was being filed until this week, the spokesperson said.
“The lawsuit seeks damages to recover for the loss of a child, Rachel Kabor, whose life was lost as a result of negligence by [Houston-based] Rocket Lab, Inc. and its employees,” the statement read.
Rocket Lab declined to comment on the lawsuit or to answer questions about whether it has any attorneys.
“We do not comment on pending litigation,” the company said in a statement.
Kimmer had been studying to become an air force officer when she was killed.
Her father has previously said that his family’s search for answers after the accident has taken him “back to a place of total loss.”
In a statement to NBC News, a lawyer for Rocket Lab did not respond to a request for comment.
Houston-area attorney Michael O’Neill said that he was contacted by Kober’s family, but he did so in private and not in public.
O’Neill’s firm represents families of people who die in accidents that result in injuries or deaths to others.
“It is difficult for any family to come to grips with what has happened to a loved one, especially in the midst of a grieving process, he said.
Rocket Labs has been at the center of several legal battles, including one involving a Texas Tech employee who killed himself.
The company was found liable in 2015 after a woman was killed in a similar explosion at an AT&T data center.