An eight-member jury in Lexington, Ky., has awarded $7.1 million to the family of one of the victims of the 2006 crash of Comair Flight 5191. The widow and two daughters of Bryan Keith Woodward, one of 47 passengers who died in the Aug. 27, 2006 crash at Lexington Blue Grass Airport, stood as the only plaintiffs to take their case to trial after all the other families settled out of court.
The family’s attorneys said that Woodward was returning home from a business trip to Kentucky. “Mr. Woodward was an outstanding father and family man who was also hard working and uniquely talented,” David Rapoport, Michael Teich and Paul Richter, the trial team that represented Woodward’s family, said in a statement. “The airline insisted that Mr. Woodward and the other passengers did not suffer conscious pain and suffering prior to their deaths. The jury disagreed.”
Comair argued that the passengers died immediately upon impact, after its Bombardier CRJ ran off the end of the wrong runway and over a berm, went briefly airborne, crashed through an airport perimeter gate and into a row of trees. However, according to the family’s lawyers, medical examiners found soot in Woodward’s lungs and an elevated level of carbon monoxide, indicating that he survived long enough to breathe in smoke from the ensuing fire.
Senior U.S. District Court Judge Karl Forester ruled that a different jury would decide on the question of punitive damages at a later time.