NTSB says no defect, jury says $44 million

“Parker Hannifin Corp. of Cleveland, the world’s largest maker of hydraulic equipment, was told by a Los Angeles jury to pay $43.6 million to the families of three people killed in a 1997 SilkAir crash in Indonesia.

“The Los Angeles Superior Court jury yesterday determined that defects in a rudder control system caused the Boeing 737 to plunge from 35,000 feet, killing all 104 people aboard. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that there were no mechanical defects and the pilot intentionally caused the crash.” Boeing and SilkAir had already settled out, and the jury refused to apportion any fault to them. “‘We are incredulous,’ said Lorrie Paul Crum, a spokeswoman for Cleveland-based Parker Hannifin, who said the company will appeal. ‘This is the best case for tort reform I’ve seen yet.'” (“Parker Hannifin will appeal jury award”, Akron Beacon Journal, Jul. 8). “The trial established Parker Hannifin’s liability and relatives of about 30 other people will now go to trial in the same Los Angeles court to determine how much Parker Hannifin owes them in damages, [said Walter Lack of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack, attorney for the families]”. Parker Hannifin says it plans to appeal. (“SilkAir crash: US firm told to pay US$44m”, Business Times of Singapore, Jul. 9).

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