Fri, May 28, 2004
Pays Father Of Third Victim $905,000
The father of one of
three men who died in a Missouri plane crash more than three years
ago has settled his lawsuit with vacuum-pump maker Parker-Hannifin.
The amount of the settlement was $905,000.
Chris Sifford (right) was flying with Missouri Governor Mel
Carnahan on board the Cessna 335 in rough IFR weather on October
16, 2000, when it went down near Hillsboro. Sifford's father, Dale,
along with the Carnahans' survivors, sued Parker-Hannifin, accusing
the company of making vacuum pumps it knew were faulty even after
they were cited in more than 20 crashes.
The NTSB accident report indicated there may indeed
have been problems with the primary attitude display, but said
that secondary instruments were probably functioning at the
time of the crash. A second attitude indicator, however, was
operating properly -- though located on the copilot's side of the
panel. According to the report, it may have been difficult for
pilot Randy Carnahan to read under the circumstances. The NTSB
ruled the cause of the accident was Randy Carnahan's spatial
disorientation and NOT any failure of a Parker-Hannifin
But a Jackson County (MO) jury disregarded that information and
awarded Carnahan's survivors $4 million. Parker-Hannifin, however,
said it was vindicated by the award, since the family had
originally sought $100 million. The jury decided not to award
Dale Sifford's lawsuit was almost a mirror of the Carnahan suit,
saying the dual vacuum system in the Cessna 335 failed, causing the
crash. His lawyer, Kirk Presley, said the Carnahan family's suit
prompted him to file on Sifford's behalf.
The judge hearing the case has decided not to set aside the
Carnahan ruling. Next week, he'll hear the family's request for a
retrial on the issue of punitive damages.
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