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Two victims of a 1999 aircraft crash represented by a Center City litigator have been awarded a total of nearly $55 million by a jury in Florida state court. The two men — one a flight student, the other his instructor — both survived the crash, but claimed the severe injuries they suffered dashed any hopes of a future in the aviation industry, according to their attorney, Arthur Wolk of the Wolk Law Firm in Philadelphia. The plaintiffs in Godfrey v. Precision Airmotive Corp. alleged that the manufacturers of the carburetor and engine in the 1973 Cessna they were piloting at the time of the crash had for decades been aware of problematic interplay between their products. Both manufacturing defendants were found liable by the jury, who also concluded that the municipal airport maintenance company responsible for the aircraft was not at fault for the crash. In court papers, the manufacturer defendants effectively suggested that the maintenance defendant was to blame for the accident. The case was tried earlier this month in Daytona Beach before Volusia County Circuit Court Judge Richard S. Graham. According to court papers in Godfrey, the crash occurred during a late-night flight in July 1999 not long after the Cessna had taken off from Ormond Beach Municipal Airport. Investigators later determined that engine failure had caused the Cessna’s forced landing. Occupying the aircraft at the time were flight student Mark Godfrey and flight instructor Nicholas Grace. Wolk said Godfrey, a United Kingdom national, was in his early 20s at the time; Grace, a Florida resident, was in his early 30s. Grace’s injuries resulted in his being fitted with a prosthetic jaw, while Godfrey also suffered broken bones in his face, including both cheekbones, according to Wolk, whose co-counsel in the case was Terence Perkins of Smith Hood Perkins Loucks Stout Bigman Lane & Brock in Daytona Beach. Read more about it in Friday’s Legal.

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