An Itasca County, Minnesota, jury has awarded more than $16 million — originally more than $19 million — to the families of two Grand Rapids men who died in a crash of a Cirrus Design Corp. airplane near Hill City in 2003. Jurors determined that Cirrus, the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation and the pilot were all negligent in the crash that killed the pilot and a passenger on January 18, 2003. The jury found Cirrus and the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation to be 37.5% negligent, and found the pilot to be 25% negligent in the cause of the plane crash.
Jurors awarded the pilot’s family $6 million for loss of counsel, guidance, aid, advice, comfort, assistance, protection and companionship they experienced as a result of his death, and $6 million for economic losses, which would include past and future wages lost. Because the pilot was found to be 25% negligent, the award will be reduced to $9 million. The passenger’s family was awarded $6 million for loss of counsel, guidance, aid, advice, comfort, assistance, protection and companionship, and $1.4 million for economic losses. His family sued Cirrus, the pilot’s estate, and the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation. The pilot’s family sued Cirrus and the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigation concluded that the probable cause of the accident was “disorientation experienced by the pilot, due to a lack of visual references, and a failure to maintain altitude.’’ Weather conditions varied from mostly cloudy to clear, depending upon their location, according to the NTSB report. The pilot had 248 hours of flight time — 18.9 in the SR-22. Daniel O’Fallon of the Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi law firm in Minneapolis, who represented the passenger’s family, says Cirrus omitted required training necessary to sell the airplane to the pilot. Cirrus contracted with the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation to provide the pilot training. The pilot hadn’t receive an “IFR Flight [non-rated]’’ lesson, which was part of the Cirrus training sold and promised.
The lawsuit contended that if the pilot had been provided the omitted training, he would have had critical information necessary to handle the conditions he faced on the morning of the crash. The victims were flying in a Cirrus SR22 on their way to St. Cloud, Minn., to watch their sons play in a hockey tournament when the crash occurred south of Hill City. As mentioned above, Daniel O’Fallon represented the passenger’s family. Ed Matonich, a lawyer from Hibbing, Minnesota, represented the pilot’s family and did a good job. Each of these lawyers did a very good job for their clients.
Source: Duluth New Tribune
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.