Lawsuit Settled Between East Palo Alto Woman, Pilot’s Estate and Employer
Lisa Jones, the owner of an East Palo Alto daycare center that was destroyed when a plane, piloted by Douglas Bourne, crashed into the home where the center operated on February 17, 2010. Bourne and his passengers, Brian Finn and Andrew Ingram, died in the crash. All three men were employed by Tesla Motors and were enroute to a business trip in California at the time of the crash. Crash Information On the morning of February 17, 2010, Bourne took off in dense fog from the Palo Alto Municipal Airport, despite warnings from an air traffic controller that he could not be cleared for take-off due to the low visibility, and taking off would be at his own risk. Bourne said he understood, but took off anyway, heading to a business meeting in Hawthorne, California. Minutes after takeoff, the Cessna, owned by Bourne, clipped a Pacific Gas & Electric high-voltage power lines as well as a utility tower. Parts of the aircraft struck the roof of Jones’ home and daycare, where her daughters were sleeping and she was in the shower. Jones’ home caught on fire, with her family and daycare center employees forced to escape the flames. The landing gear and other parts of the plane landed on other homes, damaging them as well. There were no injuries on the ground. Tesla’s Involvement At the time of the crash, all three men were employees of Tesla Motors. Finn was a senior manager from East Palo Alto, while Ingram was an engineer who lived in Palo Alto. Bourn, also an engineer, lived in Santa Clara. The three men were on company business at the time of the incident, and lawyers claimed that the California Worker’s Compensation Act covered their deaths. According to court documents, workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy when co-workers are injured or killed while on the job. Lawyers for Jones also believed that Tesla’s workers’ compensation insurance should provide coverage for the damage done to her home. “It’s Still My Block.” Jones’ home was the first to be destroyed in the plane crash as the plane’s wing sheared off after striking the roof. The wing, which was full of fuel in preparation for the flight, burst into flames. Jones home was condemned, and for three and a half years, she has kept watch on the home, which still has black covers over the holes in the roof, and a weathered condemnation notice hangs on the door. Jones says that it is still “my block” and hopes to return now that her lawsuit has been settled, a mere five days before a scheduled jury trial. When someone’s negligence while performing their work duties is suspected as the cause or a contributing factor in an accident that results in property damage, injury or death, a workers’ compensation claim may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free consultation regarding an accident where injuries or property damage may have occurred while the negligent party was on the job.