The families of the four Miramar-based U.S. Marines who were killed in a fiery helicopter crash in 2018 have filed a lawsuit against two companies who manufactured and supplied what they called a defective valve button that led to the aircraft’s demise.
Lawyers for the families of Gunnery Sgt. Derik Holley, 33, and Lance Cpl. Taylor Conrad, 24, filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania State Court against Pennsylvania-headquartered Kampi Components Co., Inc and Alabama-based Diamond Rubber Products Co. The complaint alleges the defendants used rubber that decomposes when exposed to hydraulic fluid.
“Disintegrating rubber in the valve button caused a dangerous blockage in the helicopter’s hydraulic system – making the flight control system uncontrollable and inoperable,” attorney David Casey Jr said in a statement. “There was nothing the pilots could have done to prevent this deadly accident.”
The young Marines, along with Capt. Samuel Schultz, 28, and Lt. Capt. Samuel Phillips, 27, with perished on April 3, 2018 when the CH-53E Super Stallion crashed during a training exercise near El Centro. The Marines were trying to land the heavy-lift helicopter near the U.S.-Mexico border when tragedy struck.
Their families are seeking compensatory and punitive damages in the lawsuit. The complaint includes counts of negligence, strict liability and breach of warranty.
Phillips’ family members are being represented by Bradley Stoll of Katzman, Lampert & Stoll while Schultz’ family is being represented by The Law of Office Richard E. Genter.