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Virginia Plane Crash Suit Settled for $15 Million

Posted on Mar 01, 2008

The family of a surgeon who died in a Virginia plane crash has won $15 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Dr. Rizer was killed on March 20, 2003 during an instrument approach to Runway 17 of Leesburg Executive Airport in Leesburg, Va.

Probate Judge Thomas A. Swift approved the settlement in favor of Maria Rizer and Dr. Milisa K. Rizer, the wife and sister of Dr. Franklin M. Rizer, which included $6 million in attorney fees.

According to Judge Swift, the court will divide up the net proceeds of the estate ($8,634,572) between Melisa Rizer; Maria Rizer, Kaylin Rizer Allshouse of Columbus, his niece; and the estate of Wanda Mae Rizer, his mother.

According to the lawsuit filed against Mooney Airplane Company Inc., Mooney Aerospace Group Ltd., Honeywell International Inc. of Columbus and Winner Aviation Corp., the airplane Rizer was in had defective equipment and instruments on board when it crashed three-quarters of a mile from the Leesburg Airport runway in Virginia.

Honeywell was identified as the makers of the autopilot flight director control system in the lawsuit which stated that “the aircraft experienced catastrophic failures, including avionics and instrumentation failures resulting in the fatal crash.”

The lawsuit also states that the aircraft “experienced catastrophic failures, including avionics and instrumentation failures resulting in the fatal crash.”  Mooney allegedly “failed to disclose that the aircraft had undergone major circuitry rewiring, repairs, troubleshooting modifications and other alterations… The aircraft suffered a continuous stream of avionics and other instrumentation failures during the operation of the aircraft from Kerrville, Texas, to the airport in Vienna.”

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