Marine Wrongful Death Suit Won
A Camp Pendleton Helicopter crash that killed three marines, initiated a wrongful death suit to be filed by the families in 2004. The wrongful death suit was won when the jury came back with the verdict that the San Diego Gas and Electric company was negligent for not installing safety lights or ball markers to prevent aviation accidents.
According to reports, 4 marines were killed when the helicopter they were riding in hit a utility power tower at Camp Pendleton on January 22 2004. Killed in the helicopter crash were Capt. Adam E. Miller 29; 1st LT. Michael S. Lawlor, 26; Staff Sgt. Lori A. Privette, 27; and Joshua d. Harris, 21.
The jury was able to make the determination that the SDG&E was 56% responsible for the fatal accident. The jury determined also that the utility company had prior knowledge of the hazard their utility pole posed and did nothing about it. The Federal Aviation Administration recommends that all utility towers install safety devices to prevent pilots from flying into them at night.
Wrongful Death attorneys argued if the marines were able to see the tower, they would not have flown into it. The jury awarded the families $55 million on behalf of their loved one. Each family was also awarded $10 million in punitive damages. Juries award punitive damage when they find the defendant acted by intent or was willful or malicious in his or her action.