Family of Navy SEAL Killed in Parachute Accident Files Lawsuit Against Manufaturer

Almost two years after the day Navy SEAL Bradley Cavner was killed in a training exercise, the design of his parachute is the basis for a federal lawsuit against the manufacturer.

Thousands of those serving in the armed forces were issued that piece of gear.

The Cavner family's attorney says they are asking the southern district court for a ruling on reasonable compensation for the death of a decorated hero.

But more importantly to the Chief Petty Officer's parents is that no other son or daughter suffers a similar fate.

SEAL Team 3 member Bradley Cavner died at 1300-feet in the doorway of a C-130 after his reserve parachute prematurely deployed slamming him against the plane.

Navy SEAL Brad Cavner, 31, was killed in a parachuting training accident in El Centro, Calif., on June 23, 2014. Cavner trained in Coronado, and spent much of his life there. NBC 7’s Omari Fleming speaks with friends of the SEAL, who remember him as determined and hard-working.

“It cracked his helmet, it broke his neck. He hit pretty hard,” attorney Scott Cummins said.

Cummins is one of two attorney's representing Cavner's parents in a wrongful death lawsuit against the parachute manufacturer Airborne Systems of North America.

The case is pending in San Diego's federal court.

The suit claims the reserve chute in the MC-6 parachute system blew open on its own during Cavner's Jump Master Qualifying over El Centro.

“As his mother said, I used to worry about him in Afghanistan and Iraq. I didn't really think he would get hurt here,” Cummins said. 

NBC 7’s Liberty Zabala shares the unique way the Coronado community is remembering Navy SEAL Bradley Cavner, who died during a parachute training accident last week.

Airborne Systems has not yet responded to NBC 7's interview request. A Navy spokesperson responded to our inquiry through email.

"While Chief Cavner's death was a tragedy, it brought about important changes to our training programs that will hopefully prevent these types of incidents in the future," Lt. Junior Grade Zach Keating wrote.

Cummins says since Cavner's death, the Navy changed its procedure around airplane doors and the manufacturer has added stability to the reserve chute system, but the MC-6 is still in use.

“You have to make it as safe as you can. If it is unavoidably unsafe then you have to design something better,” Cummins said.

The attoney says their research indicates there have been four other documented instances in which the parachutes prematurely deployed but none of them such tragic results.

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