A jury found in favor of the plaintiffs and against two component part manufacturers in a lawsuit arising out of a plane crash in Florida.

A flight instructor and a former student pilot were awarded a $53 million by the jury in the lawsuit against the two manufacturers. The manufacturers were at fault and caused a 1999 airplane crash that seriously injured the two men.

The jury found the companies responsible for the Ormond Beach crash of a Cessna 150 because they had known about defects in the carburetor that could cause engine failure.

Obviously, a manufacturer of component parts for an airplane can’t be allowed to put a component on a plane that it knows is likely to cause serious injury or death. Because airplane crashes involve deaths in most instances, safety considerations can never be ignored or compromised.

The jury also ruled that the carburetor manufacturer, Precision Airmotive Corp. of Marysville, Washington, should pay an additional $1.5 million in punitive damages because the defect had been reported numerous times during the course of 40 years, but was never fixed.

The plaintiffs in the case were flying a Cessna 150 on the night of July 24, 1999, when the engine failed, causing the plane to crash nose-first near the Ormond Beach airport. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board determined that an exhaust valve got stuck, which caused a loss in engine power.

The evidence at trial revealed that the carburetor tended to run very rich, causing the engine to become overloaded with fuel, which can cause the valves to stick. The crash left both men with extensive injuries, including facial fractures and brain injuries.

Under the jury verdict, the two men were awarded $32 million and $21 million respectively. The carburetor manufacturer will be required to pay 70% of the verdict, while the engine manufacturer, Teledyne Technologies Inc., is 30% liable.


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