Two Ohio residents who had sued an aviation maintenance company in 2009 following a plane crash in which each suffered significant physical injuries were awarded a jury verdict of $11,358,000 after a two-week trial at Philadelphia Common Pleas Court last week.
Akron, Ohio residents Robert E. Marsico, Jr., a medical doctor, and co-plaintiff Heather Moran, an airline pilot by trade, had sued Sharon, Pa.-based Winner Aviation Corp. in August 2009 for negligence after the Cessna 337 Skymaster twin-engine aircraft they were flying crashed into a water treatment plant in Georgia shortly after takeoff.
Both plaintiffs suffered third-degree burns over 35 percent of their bodies as a result of the accident, according to a statement from The Wolk Law Firm, which represented the two at the trial before Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker.
“We are thankful for our jury system because it allows a judgment of the most complicated and serious matters through the personal sacrifice of citizens willing to do their duty,” read a statement from the plaintiff’s firm.
Marsico, a doctor who has since been able to return to his work performing cancer dermatological surgeries, was awarded $4.9 million, court records show.
Moran, whose injuries have prevented her from being able to return to her work as an airline pilot, was awarded $6.458 million, but that figure was to be reduced by 20 percent because of her attributable negligence, according to the court docket sheet in the case.
The award to Moran includes $4.9 million for lost future earnings.
The plaintiffs had alleged that the aircraft crashed after losing engine power shortly after takeoff. While the plane had two engines, it was alleged that the second was unable to sustain the plane because it, too, experienced problems.
The plaintiffs had contended that ineffective inspections and maintenance were to be blamed for the power interruption, according to the statement from the plaintiff’s law firm.
Marsico and Moran were represented by Wolk attorneys Arthur Alan Wolk, Cynthia Devers, Bradley Stoll and Cheryl DeLisle.
The trial garnered some brief media attention after an actual Cessna 337 Skymaster twin engine, used an exhibit in the case, was discovered parked outside of Philadelphia City Hall.
According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the attorneys had obtained a city permit to park the piece of equipment next to the municipal building, but it later had to be disassembled and stored elsewhere after city officials expressed concern about having the item existing so close to protesters with the now-defunct Occupy Philadelphia encampment.
The city arranged to have the plane parked in a lot behind the Criminal Justice Center instead, the paper had reported.
Civil trials take place in the courtrooms of City Hall while criminal trials are held at the CJC, located across the street.