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Sat, Jan 17, 2004

Parker Hannifin Slapped With $4 Million Judgement

Jury Decides In Death Of Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan, Son, Aide

A Jackson County (MO) jury Friday awarded the family of Mel Carnahan $4 million, deciding that vacuum pump maker Parker Hannifin was partly to blame for the governor's death more than three years ago. This, in spite of an NTSB report that shows the twin pumps aboard the aircraft were apparently working at the time of the crash.

Carnahan was flying aboard a Cessna 335 piloted by his son, Randy, on October 16, 2000, when they ran into rough weather in southeastern Missouri. The pilot reported his primary attitude indicator had failed. The aircraft went down near Hillsboro (MO), killing all three people on board.

"Justice has been served," said widow Jean Carnahan. Her attorney, Gary Robb and her three surviving children were at her side after the verdict. "This case was never about money. It was to hold Parker Hannifin accountable for the deaths they've caused over the years."

Robb presented the jury with documents he claimed showed Parker Hannifin pump malfunctions led to at least 20 fatal air accidents.

The company argued, however, that there was no evidence of a vacuum pump failure aboard Carnahan's plane.

The jury was split in its decision, failing to award the Carnahan survivors the $100 million they had sued for.

Only nine of the 12 jurors who heard the case signed off on the verdict. No punitive damages were awarded.

"It's clear to us that this was a compromise verdict," said Lorrie Paul Crum, vice president of corporate communications at Parker Hannifin. "We came here not for money but to vindicate Parker's good name, and we think we achieved that in this verdict."

FMI: www.parker.com, ANN Op-Ed: Carnahan Family Should Move On

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