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$100 Million Verdict Awarded to Sunrise Pilot Disabled in Plane Crash
$100 Million Verdict Awarded to Sunrise Pilot Disabled in Plane Crash

After a two week trial, a Broward County jury returned a $100m verdict in favor of a 31 year old pilot whose plane crashed at North Perry airport on November 10, 2007.

In this tragic accident, the then 25 year old pilot with approximately four hundred (400) hours of flying time was flying banners along the beach in a Piper Pawnee.  He returned to the airport to drop off the banner at the designated northwest quadrant of the airport.  There were two active north/south parallel runways: 36L and 36R.

The air traffic controller gave the pilot an instruction to proceed downwind between the two parallel runways to land on the right runway.  During the attempted landing, the aircraft crashed as the pilot performed the aerial maneuvers required of the instruction.

The Plaintiff survived but with very serious traumatic brain injury and severe cognitive and neurological deficits.  He is permanently disabled and needs constant assistance.

Plaintiff claimed that the instruction was a non-standard landing instruction and not authorized by the FAA which caused his plane to stall and crash.

The air traffic controller claimed that the plane crashed because the pilot did not fly it correctly and/or that it had mechanical problems.

Defendant denied Plaintiff's claims and liability was highly contested.  Defendant blamed Plaintiff for stalling the aircraft and argued that if Plaintiff was not comfortable with the instruction he had the authority to decline it and ask for another instruction.  Defendant also named Plaintiff's employer, but the jury did not assess any liability to the employer.

The jury found the air traffic controller 68% responsible and the pilot 32% responsible

The pilot was represented at trial by Hyram M Montero, Esq., Montero Law and Todd S. Payne, Esq., Zebersky/Payne, LLP.

Todd S. Payne is a pilot who brought additional expertise to the Plaintiff’s side.

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