ENG cameraman awarded millions in post Academy Awards crash

June 16, 2003

A former KTTV-TV, Los Angeles, cameraman was awarded $13 million last week for injuries suffered when a leased helicopter in which he was riding crashed during live coverage of the Academy Awards ceremonies in 2000.

In the evening accident Phil Arno's left leg was crushed, leaving him unable to resume his television career. The defendants—helicopter owners the Purwin Co., its operator, Helinet Aviation Services; and pilot Kris Kelley - admitted liability for the crash.

A jury of seven men and five women took two days to decide the damages, awarding $3.7 million to Arno, 53, for past economic and other damages and $9.4 million for future damages.

"Phil was blessed. He had a job that he loved, that he did well," Stanley K. Jacobs, one of Arno’s attorneys, told the L.A>Times. "Today, everything that he worked for he will never be able to do again."

According to his attorneys, since the crash, Arno has undergone six surgeries on his left ankle and leg, and will require more surgery. He also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Arno did not sue his former employer, KTTV-TV Channel 11. “They have been absolutely tremendous through this,” he told the L.A. Times.

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