Children Who Lost Parents in Plane Crash get $15 Million
CNN Law Center
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) – Jurors Friday awarded $15 million to the children of a couple who perished aboard a Singapore Airlines jetliner that crashed on a runway in Taiwan in October 2000.
The judgment is the first jury verdict in a civil case brought against the airline in connection with the crash, which killed 83 people, said attorney Brian Panish, who represented the two children of Richard and Ching Ying Wu.
The couple had planned to fly from Taipei, Taiwan, to Los Angeles after a business trip. The jet went down the wrong runway and crashed into construction equipment. The airline did not dispute its liability.
The jury deliberated for a day and a half before returning its verdict. The panel awarded $3.75 million for the loss of each parent, or a total of $7.5 million to each of the children, son Sidney Wu, 31, and daughter Christina Wu, 27.
Sidney Wu issued a statement thanking the jury and saying the verdict “gives us some closure in the four-year-long nightmare that we’ve endured because Singapore Airlines didn’t do the honorable thing by our family.”
Panish said his clients “hope this sends a message to Singapore Airlines that they’ve delayed long enough and should compensate all the victims that they’ve been putting off for four years.”
The airline’s lawyers didn’t present any witnesses. Attorney Frank Silane told jurors the case was not about loss or blame, only about how much the family should receive.
“This was a fine family,” he said in his opening statement Tuesday. “It was a close family and a good family.”
A telephone message for Silane was not immediately returned.
Taiwanese investigators concluded the crash was likely caused by pilot errors exacerbated by bad weather from an approaching typhoon.
Panish, who represents 14 other families, said the airline settled before going to trial in a separate case. He declined to say what the amount of that settlement was. “We intend to try every case until Singapore Airlines gets the message,” he said.
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