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Company Found Negligent in Carnahan Death

Jan 16, 2004 | AP A Missouri jury found airplane parts manufacturer Parker Hannifin Corp. negligent Friday in the 2000 plane crash that killed Gov. Mel Carnahan and his son, and awarded the family $4 million.

The Jackson County jury awarded $3 million for Mel Carnahan and $1 million for his son Randy in compensatory damages. The jury did not award any punitive damages.

The Carnahans' attorney, Gary Robb, had asked the jury to consider awarding the family $100 million in compensatory damages.

The jury agreed with Robb's argument that a pair of vacuum pumps manufactured by Parker Hannifin failed on Oct. 16, 2000, causing a plane piloted by Randy Carnahan to crash. The crash also killed Chris Sifford, a longtime aide to the governor.

Attorneys for Cleveland-based Parker Hannifin argued that the vacuum pumps did not fail, and blamed the crash on the failure of the pilot's attitude indicator.

The indicator tells a pilot whether the plane is banking and whether the nose is high or low. That failure, on a rainy night, caused Randy Carnahan to become disoriented, the company said.

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