Little Rock Airport Says It Won’t Appeal $2.1M Judgment

September 6, 2005

A judgment of more than $2.1 million against the Little Rock National Airport, Adams Field, in a suit brought by the widow of an American Airlines pilot won’t be appealed, according to a lawyer for the airport’s insurance company.

Susan Buschmann claimed in her suit that her husband and 10 others were killed because of unsafe conditions at the airport when Flight 1420 crashed during a violent thunderstorm on June 1, 1999.

“While we were disappointed with the verdict, we acknowledged that it was the verdict of the jury, and consequently we worked with the plaintiff’s attorneys to settle the matter,” attorney Richard Watts of Little Rock said Friday.

Watts was hired by the airport’s liability carrier, Cincinnati Insurance Co., in the wrongful-death and negligence suit.

A U.S. District Court jury returned the judgment against the airport June 2 after a two-week trial. The jury concluded the airport was negligent for having an inadequate safety area to buffer skids off the runway, and awarded $2,157,265 to Buschmann, of Naperville, Ill.

Her husband of nearly 30 years, Capt. Richard Buschmann, 48, was killed just before midnight on June 1, 1999, while landing an MD-82 jet as a thunderstorm passed through the area. The flight originated in Dallas.

The plane held 145 people, including six crew members.

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