Broward County Aviation Case Awarded $100 Million Verdict

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Commentary by Zebersky Payne Shaw Lewenz, LLP

Yesterday, 06/13/13, attorneys, Todd Payne, Zebersky Payne Shaw Lewenz, LLP partner and Hy Montero, Montero Law, received a $100 million verdict in an aviation case with 68% liability on the air tower. Congrats to them on what the defense described as a zero liability case!!!

“It’s been five years of litigation” said attorney Hy Montero Thursday night after receiving the jury verdict of $100 million.

Facts: On 11/10/07, Plaintiff, a 25 year old pilot with approximately four hundred (400) hours of flying time, was an independent contractor flying banners along the beach in a Piper Pawnee. Plaintiff returned to North Perry Airport and dropped 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 then gave the pilot an instruction to proceed downwind between the two parallel runways to land on 36R.

The Plaintiff accepted the instruction, stalled the aircraft and crashed as he performed the aerial maneuvers required of the instruction. Plaintiff survived but with very serious traumatic brain injury, severe cognitive and neurological deficits. He is permanently disabled and needs constant assistance.

Plaintiff claimed that the instruction was a non-standard instruction which had not been authorized by the FAA nor accepted by his employer.

Defendant denied Plaintiff’s claims. 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.

Liability was highly contested.

Todd Payne is a long time experienced pilot who brought additional expertise to the plaintiff’s side.

The trial lasted for two weeks.

It’s always wonderful to hear when a client gets justice. Hats off to the good guys!!!!

Jordan A. ShawBroward County Aviation Case Awarded $100 Million Verdict

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