Philadelphia Jury Awards $88.7 Million in Products Liability Case

On April 6, 2010, in the matter of Pridgen v. Avco Corp., a Philadelphia jury awarded close to $89 million in compensatory and punitive damages in a products liability case involving a 1999 plane crash where four people died and another suffered serious injuries. The jury awarded $24.7 million in compensatory damages and $64 million in punitive damages. The combined total of $88.7 million is the largest award in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in the last five years.

The plane took off from Oshkosh, Wisconsin and landed in Ohio to refuel. Shortly after takeoff in Ohio, the plane, which was headed to Pennsylvania, crashed. The plaintiffs argued that the plane engine’s carburetor failed at takeoff and prevented a successful emergency landing. The defense argued that the crash was caused by pilot error in overloading the plane, which caused it to stall.