A jury in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania awarded $89 million last month to family members of the passengers that were killed in the Youngstown, Ohio, plane crash and to a survivor of the crash. It was found that the manufacturer of the plane’s engine had concealed information about a faulty carburetor that caused the crash. It was a six-seat Piper Cherokee plane, built in 1968, which crashed shortly after takeoff following a refueling stop in Youngstown in 1999.
This case has been in court for the past ten years. The state Supreme Court had rejected it twice with argument by the manufacturer that the claims were barred under a statute severely limiting negligence lawsuits for defects in airplanes more than 18 years old. Lycoming Engines of Williamsport, Pennsylvania was the engines manufacturer.
There were reports by the National Transportation Safety Board that found the plane was near its maximum weight limit when it took off, and that much of its weight was distributed toward the back, making it difficult to operate. Lycoming Engine Company was well aware of the carburetor problem but had failed to notify the FAA or Federal Aviation Administration of the problems.
The jury awarded $25 million in compensatory and $64 million in punitive damages.
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