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Family of Plane Crash Victim Sues Pilot

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Michigan City, INA wrongful death suit has been filed in Iowa by two Michigan City attorneys on behalf of a man killed in a 2006 plane crash near Mill Creek. Attorney Donald Pagos filed the lawsuit on behalf of the family of 23-year-old Joshua Trainor for damages that have not yet been specified. Both Pagos and attorney Scott Pejic are being assisted by Waterloo, Iowa attorney Eric Johnson.

The lawsuit was filed in Polk County, Iowa because there are no caps that can be placed on damages for wrongful death lawsuits in the state. Indiana has a cap of $300,000 on wrongful death lawsuits that involve single victims with no children as dependents. Trainor was not married and did not have any children.

Plane CrashPagos said that Trainor's father and mother, Jeffrey and Mary Trainor, came to him to obtain his services in filing the lawsuit over the death of their son. Named in the suit is pilots Tom Dunphy, 41, and John Trewet, 45, as well as CPRT Investment Corp., which is an air charter business. Dunphy was the vice president of Two Rivers Marketing, which was Trainor's place of employment and Trewet was a shareholder and an officer in CPRT.

Dunphy and Trewet were both killed in the crash as well. The lawsuit has also named Teledyne Continental Motors as a defendant because the company manufactured the engines of the 1982 Cessna T303 that crashed on November 13, 2006, which was just seven minutes after leaving the runway of South Bend Regional Airport. Pagos is alleging that there was something wrong with the engines that led to the crash.

The lawsuit is also charging that Dunphy chartered the aircraft from CPRT and that he was negligent due to the fact that he was not licensed to transport passengers for hire and was not licensed to operate on the instruments that were needed that night for weather condition reasons. Pagos has also stated that the plane was more than 300 pounds over the weight allowed for takeoff.

When the National Transportation Safety Board Ruled on the crash, they said that it was pilot fatigue that led to the tragedy. They found two instances that indicated Trewet did not respond correctly to instructions coming from the tower right before the plane took off and right after.

Trainor was just one of five people who had passed away in the crash. The others who died were Leslie O'Bannon, 27, and Eric Jacobs, 31.

No date has yet been set for a jury trial.

By Ginger Gillenwater

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