The family of David Duncan, a pilot who died in 2011 when a twin engine Cessna 310 he was flying crashed at the Tupelo airport, has settled their lawsuit filed against the city aviation authority. The terms of the settlement are confidential. The pilot’s two daughters filed suit in January in Lee County, Miss., alleging that the airport authority was guilty of negligence.

David Duncan, 69, who was killed on Aug. 17, 2011, when the Cessna twin-engine airplane he had just piloted from Tupelo Regional Airport suddenly banked to the left about 400 feet above the ground and crashed into a tree near a residence. The plane had just been worked on by Tupelo Aviation Unlimited, the airport’s fixed base operator.

According to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there was a loose nut on a fuel line on the airplane. The NTSB report says anti-tamper putty around the nut was broken and that the broken putty indicates that a nut has been loosened – purposely or by causes like vibration. A mechanic told NTSB investigators he had tightened the nut to proper torque, but didn’t have anti-tamper putty to put around it. The report concluded that the crash’s probable cause came from the mechanic’s failure to follow normal procedures to install a fuel line to the plane’s engine. This failure caused the engine to quit and the plane to crash.

Duncan’s daughters, Dana and Lisa, filed suit on Jan. 25, 2013, in Lee County, claiming negligence on behalf of the airport authority. In talking about the litigation, their lawyer criticized Mississippi’s caps on these types of lawsuit awards, saying the law treats victims’ families “like second-class citizens” by putting an arbitrary value on their loved-ones’ lives. John Booth Forese, a lawyer with the firm Fraese, Farese & Farese, based in Ashland, Miss., represented the family.  He did a very good job in this case.

Source: The Northeast Daily Journal

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