MIAMI (December 13, 1999) — The law firm of Colson, Hicks, Eidson, Colson, Martínez & Mendoza today confirmed that the family members of the passengers aboard AeroPeru flight 603, which originated in Miami and crashed off the coast of Peru on October 2nd, 1996, received one of the largest cash awards stemming from an airplane crash outside the United States aboard a non-U.S. carrier.
The thirty-two year old firm served as co-counsel for nearly two-thirds of the families of the 70 people who died when the pilots accidentally flew the Boeing 757 into the ocean after receiving confusing and conflicting information from their control panels. According to the complaint, the control panel errors were caused by careless maintenance by AeroPeru, the airline operating the flight, and negligence and defective design by The Boeing Company, the airplane’s manufacturer.
The suit was filed against Boeing in federal court in Miami in May, 1997. After extensive litigation, the parties agreed to transfer the case against Boeing and AeroPeru to an international arbitration in Santiago, Chile, for a determination of the damages. The defendants agreed not to contest liability in Chile.
Members of the firm, who often work in conjunction with local attorneys Nationwide and outside the U.S., spent countless hours traveling between Miami, Santiago and Lima, Peru. The team — comprised of Mike Eidson, Dean Colson, Roberto Martínez and Enid Duany Mendoza— represented 40 families from many different countries around the world, including the United States, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Mexico, Chile, Peru and Ecuador. Throughout the proceedings, the law firm worked in association with Isidro Solis Palma and Juan Pablo Hermosilla of the Chilean law firm of Hermosilla & Associates. The sole arbitrator was Sergio Urrejola Monckeberg, the President of the Chilean Bar Association.
“This was a truly historic event in that it was the first time a law firm in the United States, in cooperation with a South American firm, tried an aviation wrongful death case, which resulted in an excellent outcome for the families involved,” stated Mike Eidson, senior partner at Colson Hicks Eidson and Chair Elect of the Aviation Section of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA).
Colson Hicks Eidson is one of a hand-full of firms Nationwide that has tried to conclusion the detailed and complex product liability claims arising from aviation crashes in and outside the United States.
“After a dozen high profile aviation cases and 25 years of representing clients in lawsuits against Boeing Aircraft, McDonnell Douglas Aircraft, Hughes Helicopters and Hughes Manufacturing, Cessna, Piper, and Beech Craft Aviation,” stated Eidson, “we are proud to include ourselves as leaders in this difficult area of practice.”
The law firm of Colson, Hicks, Eidson, Colson, Martínez & Mendoza, founded in 1967, represents the injured and aggrieved in civil jury trials and is committed to accepting only a select number of cases in order to focus all of its resources towards obtaining the best results for its clients.