Plaintiffs ask for over $674,000 in Oxford Aviation suit after alleged negligent work caused emergency plane landing
OXFORD, Maine — Plaintiffs in two lawsuits against Oxford Aviation are asking to be awarded more than $674,000 in total damages in a default judgment against the company.
Joseph Skilken and Co. and Karen Skilken filed lawsuits against the Oxford-based company in late August, claiming that negligent work by the company resulted in a harrowing emergency landing of a Cessna 441 airplane in Colorado Springs, Colo., in May.
According to the complaints, Oxford Aviation failed to properly reattach part of the airplane’s tail after repainting the aircraft, and the unattached portion of the tail fell off in mid-flight. The Cessna was piloted by Steven Skilken with Karen Skilken, her parents and the Skilkens’ two young daughters as passengers.
Last month, U.S. District Court in Portland entered a default against Oxford Aviation after the company failed to respond to the complaint after being served with a summons Aug. 27.
By defaulting on the suit, the defendant is essentially accepting the facts of the case as true.
Together, the two plaintiffs are asking the court for damages totaling more than $674,000.
In its motion for default judgment, filed Oct. 16, Joseph Skilken and Co., asks for more than $518,000 in damages to cover a refund, loss of use of the Cessna for business, an “unacceptable” paint job and diminution of value of the aircraft, as well as costs, expenses and attorney fees.
The cost to repair damage to the Cessna’s airframe, interior, left propeller, engine, nose tire, tire arms and fender and repaint the aircraft was $210,023. According to a Sept. 13 invoice attached to an affidavit by Steven Skilken, repairs were completed by West Star Aviation of Grand Junction, Colo.
A refund for a three-and-a-half-month loss of use of the airplane, regularly used to transport business clients for Joseph Skilken and Co., totals $53,840, while the cost to use commercial flights and rent airplanes and vehicles totals $58,384.
Joseph Skilken and Co. rents property in West Virginia, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to its website.
The company is also asking for $200,000 to cover the loss of the value to the aircraft and associated fees relating to landing at Colorado Springs and unexpected test flights totaling $4,796.
In her motion for default judgment, also filed Oct. 16, Karen Skilken, who was slightly injured in the emergency landing, is asking to be awarded $6,065 to cover her medical bills and $150,000 as an award for “severe emotional distress, mental anguish and pain suffering caused by the defendant’s negligence.”
The court has yet to set a hearing to assess damages.
Reached Friday at his Lewiston office, lawyer Daniel Nuzzi, who filed the motions on behalf of the plaintiffs, said if the court rules in favor of the the judgments, his clients would attempt to collect the damages awarded.
As of yet, his office had received no communication from Oxford Aviation or its representatives, Nuzzi said.
An attempt to reach Oxford Aviation President James Horowitz of Casco at his company’s offices at the Oxford County Regional Airport on Friday was unsuccessful.