$13,813,057 :: Dugan v. LIGA International

JUDGMENT : Plastic surgeon died en route to Mexico to render humanitarian medical services

Plastic Surgeon Dies in Tragic Airplane Accident

Mark Dugan, a 33-year old plastic surgeon in training, died in an aviation accident while volunteering with LIGA International, a nonprofit organization that planned flights to Baja for charitable services, including medical services. Dugan was on a flight organized by LIGA International, along with two pilots and another volunteer, when it crashed into a ridge near Camp Pendleton. The plane, a Piper Apache PA-23, was owned and flown by Anthony Shanks, who also died in the crash.

The plaintiffs were the wife and children of Mark Dugan. At the time of the accident, Mrs. Dugan was expecting her third child. The plaintiffs claimed wrongful death of their husband and father, and loss of earnings in the amount of $8,813,057.

Our wrongful death suit claimed that LIGA provided oversight and chose to exercise administrative supervision over pilots and aircrafts involved in LIGA organized flights. We also contended that LIGA failed to adequately carry out this supervision, that the pilot was unqualified, and the aircraft was not certified for inclement weather flights.

Federal investigators determined that the crash was caused by inclement weather, and the 40-year-old plane was not appropriately equipped for flying at low heights. If the pilot had filed a flight plan with air traffic controllers, he would have been required to fly 2,000 feet or more above the site of the crash. Los Angeles Times, 12 March 1995.

The case settled for $13,813,057 before going to trial.

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