Chicago, IL (PRWEB) September 8, 2009
A Cook County judge today approved a $15 million settlement for the wrongful death of Michael Waugh in the January 30, 2006 plane crash near Palwaukee Municipal Airport, now Chicago Executive Airport. (Case No. 06 L 001410, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, County Department, Law Division). The crash killed Waugh and three others.
Waugh was General Manager and Chief Operating Partner at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak, and Stone Crab Restaurant, one of Chicago's best known and popular dining spots. Richard Melman, President and CEO of Lettuce Entertain You, provided pre-trial testimony for the family that Michael "was a rising star in the company for whom the sky was the limit."
Waugh's widow and three children brought the suit against the estate of the pilot, Mark Turek, claiming pilot negligence and against Morgan Stanley, Turek's employer, and alleging that it improperly allowed its employees to use private aircraft flown by non-professional pilots on company business. Turek had been a Senior Financial Advisor for the investment firm.
The lawsuit claimed that the internal policies of Morgan Stanley were deficient. According to the complaint filed in the lawsuit, "Morgan Stanley failed to have any written policy prohibiting the use of private aircraft by employees to transport Morgan Stanley customers." (Complaint, p. 15-16, attached).
"Our investigation revealed that no other financial institution of comparable size permits its employees who are amateur pilots to fly clients around on company business," said Gary C. Robb, the Kansas City personal injury attorney representing the family. "We commend Morgan Stanley for changing this policy such that this kind of tragedy can never occur again."
The terms of the settlement call for both defendants to pay Waugh's widow, Lisa A. Waugh, $6 million and $3 million to each of his three minor children, Joseph, 14, Jordan, 12, and Jameson, 8.
The aircraft, a 1974 Cessna 421B, was being flown back from Olathe, Kansas. Turek and a co-employee, Scott Garland, had arranged a financial consult with Mr. Waugh's father, Jack Waugh. The other passenger, Kenneth Knudson, was traveling along to conduct business for his company, Sybaris Clubs.
In three and one-half years of intensive litigation, the case generated close to 50 depositions, over 1,300 court pleadings and tens of thousands of documents. In his Order, Cook County Circuit Court Judge John A. Ward described the $15 million settlement as "fair and reasonable under all of the relevant circumstances." (Court Order approving settlement, attached).
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, pilot Turek had been cleared to land at the airport and flew the airplane too slowly, causing it to stall and dive nose first into the ground (NTSB Report, attached). The airplane exploded upon impact and was engulfed by flames. All four aboard were pronounced dead at the scene.
About Robb & Robb
Founded in 1984, the Kansas City based law firm of Robb & Robb, LLC, has long been recognized as among the leading aviation lawyers in the country. In 1995, Robb & Robb obtained the highest jury verdict in U.S. history in a single aviation crash, $350 million (Barnett v. La Societe Anonyme Turbomecca France, 963 S.W. 2d 939, Western District of Missouri Court of Appeals). Earlier this year, Forbes magazine recognized Gary C. Robb as "by far the most successful helicopter crash attorney in the United States." For more information on Robb & Robb, LLC, please visit http://www.robbrobb.com.
For further information on behalf of the Waugh family, contact airplane lawyer Gary C. Robb at (816) 474-8080.
For further information on behalf of defendant Estate of Mark Turek, contact Edward Matushek at (312) 750-1215.
For further information on behalf of defendant Morgan Stanley, contact Michael McQuillen at (312) 422-5702.
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