he was in the worst position to actually do something about it.
For these reasons, the Court cannot find that Dr. Hanson's
negligence played a more significant causal role in his death
than did Ms. Leptourgou's wrongdoing. By the same token, because
of Dr. Hanson's unique knowledge of the danger, the Court cannot
conclude that he played no role in causing his death. In the end,
the Court concludes that the failures of both parties contributed
equally to the tragedy that followed. Therefore, the Court finds
that Dr. Hanson was comparatively liable for his death at a rate
Having determined that defendant is liable under the Warsaw
Convention, that defendant's liability is not limited to $75,000,
and that defendant was contributorily negligent in causing his
own death, the Court must next determine the total amount of
damages suffered by plaintiffs as a result of Olympic's
misconduct. The evidence before the Court supports an award of
damages commensurate with the pecuniary loss to Dr. Hanson's
surviving family. The parties have not established in their
briefs or their arguments to the Court that damages in excess of
that amount are legally appropriate in this case.
To determine the amount of pecuniary damages, the Court
received a report and heard testimony from C. Daniel Vencill,
Ph.D., who examined Dr. Hanson's financial health for the
purposes of determining damages in this case. Dr. Vencill's
testimony was uncontradicted, and his conclusions went largely
unchallenged by defendant. Defendant's post-trial brief and
argument do not attack the validity of Dr. Vencill's methodology
or his calculations.
Dr. Hanson's earning history shows an average taxable income of
$140,052.12 over the six-year period prior to his death. He
intended to work until at least age 65 in order to provide for
his family and finance his children's college education. Based on
Dr. Vencill's uncontroverted testimony, assuming a 5.5% discount
rate and a 2% growth rate, and deducting at a rate of 31% for
personal consumption, the Court concludes that the total amount
of pecuniary loss to plaintiffs as a result of Dr. Hanson's death
This finding is supported by Dr. Vencill's calculations, as
presented in his written and oral testimony to the Court. In
reaching this conclusion, the Court is guided by Dr. Vencill's
testimony that the most accurate calculation of Dr. Hanson's
income is reached by modifying Dr. Hanson's taxable income to
account for cash flow. Additionally, the Court finds Dr.
Vencill's calculations based on Dr. Hanson's six-year earnings
more reliable than the calculations based on Dr. Hanson's 1997
earnings alone. Finally, although Dr. Vencill posited at trial
that a higher figure of approximately $1.5 to $1.6 million was
appropriate, the Court accepts the $1.4 million figure because it
more accurately reflects the total amount of non-market work
performed by Dr. Hanson in his home prior to his death.
As noted above, the Court finds that Dr. Hanson was
comparatively negligent at a rate of 50% in causing his death.
Therefore, plaintiffs may recover only 50% of their $1,400,000.00
in economic losses. The Court awards plaintiffs $700,000.00 in
For the foregoing reasons, the Court hereby finds that an
accident occurred aboard Olympic Airways Flight 417 on January 4,
1998, and that the accident caused the death of Dr. Abid Hanson.
The Court further finds that Olympic Airways
committed willful misconduct in failing to react to Ms. Rubina
Husain's requests for a seat transfer for her husband. Finally,
the Court finds that Dr. Hanson himself was contributorily
negligent in causing his death, and that his negligence
contributed to his death at a rate of 50%. Accordingly, the Court
hereby awards plaintiffs $700,000.00 in damages.
IT IS SO ORDERED.