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ARTICLE ID 185724

$________ Admiralty – Man and family sue after fighter jet crashes into house, killing family – Wrongful deaths of wife, children, and mother-in-law.

U.S.D.C. - Southern District of California

This suit rose out of the tragic crash of Marine Corps fighter jet into a residence in southern California, killing four. The defendant U.S.A. conceded sole liability for the incident.

On December 8, ________, a United States Marine Corp F/A 18D Hornet fighter jet crashed into the University City home the plaintiff Don Y. shared with his wife and daughters. The aircraft had been on a training exercise when one of its engines failed. The aircraft changed course in a way that required it fly over the heavily-populated neighborhood where the plaintiff’s house was located. When the second engine failed, the aircraft fell from the sky, crashing into the plaintiff Don Y.’s home. The crash incinerated the home, killing his wife and two daughters: 7-week-old Rachel Y. and 15-month-old Grace Y. The plaintiff’s mother-in-law Seokim Kim-L., who was visiting from Korea, was also killed. The Navy Office of the Judge Advocate General later rejected the family’s administrative claims for wrongful death and personal injury under Admiralty and the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA").

The plaintiff Don Y. filed suit individually and behalf of the deceased in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The husband and family of the decedent, Seokim Kim-L., were also named as plaintiffs in the suit. Actions were filed for negligence under Admiralty and the FTCA against the United States government, as well as product liability and breach of warranty actions against the Boeing, the aircraft’s manufacturer.

The United States admitted sole liability in the matter, conceding the negligence of military personnel. A three day non-jury trial was held pursuant to the FTCA, 28 U.S.C. §§________-________, with arguments heard from the plaintiffs from December 12, ________ until December 14th. Expert testimony on damages was provided by economist Dr. Peter Formuzis for the plaintiff and C.P.A. Paul Zimmer for the defense. The plaintiffs sought approximately $56 million. The defendant government requested "fair and reasonable compensation" be awarded, but did not name a specific amount. At the trial’s conclusion, United States District Judge Jeffrey Miller awarded the plaintiffs $17.8 million for the loss of their family members.

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