Photo: Courtesy of Keith Allison
The widows of New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor have been ordered to pay Cirrus Design more than $80,000 in court costs related to their unsuccessful lawsuit against the company. On October 11, 2006, Lidle and his former flight instructor from the West Coast, Tyler Stanger (who was on his first flight with Lidle in the Cirrus), crashed the pitcher’s SR20 into an apartment building on the East Side of Manhattan during a sightseeing tour of the area.
They were trying to perform a 180-degree turn over the East River to avoid entering LaGuardia Airport’s airspace. The NTSB blamed the accident solely on pilot error, saying the pilot in command (it remains unclear who was manipulating the controls) misjudged the space required to perform the turn. The victims’ widows subsequently sued Cirrus for product liability, claiming the SR20’s controls jammed. The suit was denied by a Manhattan federal jury after just three hours of deliberation in 2011, and the ruling was unanimously upheld by an appeals court last month, despite contention by the widows’ attorney, Todd Macaluso, who continues to claim the accident was caused by jammed controls.