September 3, 2008

San Diego Jury Awards $40 Million in Punitive Damages for Crash of Marine Helicopter

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, a jury today awarded $15.2 million in compensatory damages and $40.4 million in punitive damages against San Diego Gas & Electric Company in a case involving a helicopter crash that killed four Marines.

In the 2004 crash, the Marines' UH-1N (Huey) helicopter collided with a 130-foot utility tower located on Camp Pendleton. The plaintiffs claimed that SDG&E was negligent for not installing safety lights on the tower. SDG&E says the tower had been on the base for 25 years and they would have installed lights if the Marine Corps had asked. They contend the crash was the result of errors by the crew and they plan to appeal.