Verdicts & Settlements :: 2000 - 2004
2001 Cassoutt vs. Cessna Aircraft Company
This case is the largest aviation verdict of all time. A Pensacola Florida jury awarded four hundred and eighty million dollars ($480,000,000) against Cessna Aircraft Company for another seat slip that caused two passengers to be severely burned and another to be crippled for life. The Wolk Law Firm proved that Cessna, in spite of being punished twenty years before in the Harper case continued to allow unsafe pilots’ seats to be used in its aircraft and did nothing to retrofit those aircraft with features to prevent the seat slip before the occurrence of this accident years later. The verdict was some eighty million dollars ($80,000,000) compensatory and four hundred million dollars ($400,000,000) in punitive damages. (Top ten jury verdict of 2001).
2001 Caption Confidential
A multi-million dollar settlement was reached for the death of a man who was killed when the Piper Seneca he was flying came apart in the air during an instrument flight in icing conditions. The ice makes the low flutter margins designed into the tail of the aircraft much worse by aggravating the tendency of the tail to flutter. Small accumulations of ice that cause vibration are sufficient to excite flutter in the stabilator already susceptible to such a failure by creating a harmonic that will tear the tail off the airplane. It doesn't take much to generate flutter in these badly designed aircraft and minor variations in build quality or maintenance can greatly aggravate the situation.
2002 Schelpert vs. Egyptair
This was one of many cases The Wolk Law Firm handled arising from the tragic sabotage of Egyptair Flight 990 by its co-pilot. In what would be one of the earlier acts of terrorism preceding 9/11, and it was established by Arthur Wolk as one of the lead litigators on the plaintiffs’ steering committee that there was no mechanical cause that could explain the sudden gyrations of the Boeing 767 that preceded its break-up and crash into the Atlantic Ocean. It was also established that the co-pilot had a history of mental instability that was ignored by Egyptian authorities before the crash. In this instance The Wolk Law Firm represented the families of five persons who died in the crash. In one of the only cases tried from that accident, The Wolk Law Firm recovered more than two million dollars in a bench trial in a Federal Court in Los Angeles.
2002 Taylor vs. Teledyne
This accident occurring near the Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta arose from defects in engines overhauled by Teledyne. The crew reported engine trouble and was returning to the airport when the aircraft crashed and burned killing the two pilots. The very favorable settlement occurred after The Wolk Law Firm was brutally attacked by defense counsel and the defendant. Notwithstanding the most horrific abuse ever visited upon a lawyer, Arthur Alan Wolk persisted and was successful in resolving the case to the great benefit of his clients. The Wolk Law Firm will never be intimidated.
2002 Caption Confidential
This seventeen million two hundred thousand dollar ($17,200,000) settlement arose out of the crash of an executive jet. The crash was caused by a maintenance company’s failure to properly reassemble the horizontal stabilizer components following an inspection. The victim was a well known entrepreneur who had invented a number of innovative devices. He was survived by a wife and three adult children.
2002 Caption Confidential
A multi-million dollar settlement was reached for the death of the pilot of a Cessna Caravan that crashed after a flight in light icing conditions. The aircraft crashed while on final approach to the airport after a routine flight. The cause of the accident was tail stall, a phenomenon caused by an extremely poor design of the deicing equipment on the aircraft, coupled with an extremely poor choice of wing airfoils. The inability to shed ice, even ice into which the airplane was purportedly certified for flight, makes the situation worse. Tail stall, for which pilots are not trained to recover, pitches the nose of the airplane up instead of down as in a conventional stall, and in the Cessna Caravan may be unrecoverable, especially at low altitudes. Basic wind tunnel research commissioned by The Wolk Law Firm demonstrated fundamental flaws in the design of the aircraft that should have caused its "known icing" certification to have been revoked.
2002 Egyptair 990
The Wolk Law Firm represented five families who lost loved ones in this tragic crash of a Boeing 767 flying from New York to Cairo, Egypt. Arthur Alan Wolk was on the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee and instrumental in debunking Egyptair's claim that mechanical failure and not terrorism was the cause of the crash.
During depositions taken by Wolk, he established that seven simultaneous malfunctions would have had to occurred to bring the big aircraft down. He also established that the co-pilot had been suspected of behavior that would have led to his firing when he returned to Egypt. In that Egyptair was an organ of the Egyptian Government, the one trial on damages was before a single Federal Judge and a multi-million dollar verdict was entered for the family of the deceased. All the other cases were settled under terms favorable to the families.
2003 Blanton vs. Precision
This six million dollar ($6,000,000) verdict arose from the crash of a single engine Cessna airplane that suffered engine failure shortly after takeoff due to a defective carburetor. The Wolk Law Firm proved that Precision, the manufacturer had a long history of carburetor caused engine failures and failed to do anything to fix the myriad of problems with their carburetors. The plaintiff was the wife of the victim who died instantly in the crash.
2003 Caption Confidential
This settlement arose from the crash of an airliner that had been overloaded. The evidence established that the weights being used to calculate passengers’ weights were grossly understated. The risk for a trial was that airlines would be exposed for flying virtually every flight with illegally overloaded aircraft. The settlement amount was five million dollars and was for the wife and adult child of a businessman who died in the crash.
2003 Caption Confidential
A multi-million dollar settlement was reached for the family of a nine year old girl who fell to her death when the tail came off a Piper Seneca during a flight returning from medical treatment being flown by a volunteer. All aboard the aircraft were killed when it crashed, except for the mother of the little girl, who miraculously survived the crash. The cause was flutter of the stabilator due to a flaw in the original design made worse by maintenance personnel who have no knowledge of the seriousness of the problem and may ignore signs of the onset of the flutter, which include working of the trim tabs, backing out of bolts in the stabilator mounts, and reports of vibration in flight.
2004 Kanter vs. Flying Tigers
Three persons lost their lives in the crash of a Piper Saratoga when the aircraft disintegrated in flight due in part to spatial disorientation of the pilot from the loss of the sources that supply power to the aircraft’s instruments. The system is designed to supply vacuum to drive gyroscopic instruments but when the primary pump failed, the secondary system that’s supposed to take over failed as well due to deteriorated gaskets and a defective valve to maintain vacuum. The Wolk Law Firm also established that the way the secondary system was designed, use of it further added to the disorientation of the pilot flying in bad weather and contributed to the loss of situational awareness. One of the defendants claimed it did no business in Pennsylvania and after extensive discovery, The Wolk Law Firm established that the defendant had filed false documents and affidavits with the court. The case was later settled.
2004 Caption Confidential
This case involved the crash of an airliner that was overloaded and out of its center of gravity limits. Control was lost on takeoff and the crash killed all aboard including a businessman who was survived by his wife and two teenage children. The settlement was eight million five hundred thousand ($8,500,000) dollars.
2004 Walker vs. Segal
This landmark verdict established liability on the pilot of an aircraft who had made a nuisance of himself on the radio, so distracting an air traffic controller that she failed to give appropriate guidance to an aircraft that ultimately collided with another killing the pilot. The victim who was survived by a wife was awarded two million one hundred thousand dollars ($2,100,000) by the jury.