A King County Superior Court jury has awarded two families $26.1 million for the deaths of three people who died in a plane crash near Arlington in 2008.
Killed in the crash were Dr. Tory Becker, an Auburn surgeon, along with Enumclaw pilot Brenda Houston and her 10-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Crews.
The single-engine Cessna was flying from San Juan Island to Auburn, when its engine failed, causing the plane to crash into a wooded area.
Investigators determined that the crash was caused by a defective carburetor.
“Once we analyzed the defects in the carburetor, our investigation focused on the carburetor design, manufacturing process, and failure history,” said Robert Hedrick, an attorney with Aviation Law Group in Seattle, who represents the Becker family. “Sure enough there was a significant history of similar failures for years before this accident,” Hedrick said.
“The manufacturer had implemented a fix for the carburetor problem more than two years before the accident,” said James Anderson, also an attorney for Aviation Law Group “but we still don’t know why that fix was not implemented for thousands of aircraft already operating the field, including the accident aircraft.”
"These people would be alive today if the manufacturer had done the right thing and fully implemented the fix to cover all aircraft." Hedrick added.
The jury awarded both compensatory and punitive damages against the engine manufacturer.