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Associated Press, Published June 06 2009

Jury awards $16 million for 2003 plane crash

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – A jury in northern Minnesota has awarded more than $16 million to the families of two men who died in a plane crash in 2003.

The jurors decided that Duluth-based airplane maker Cirrus Design Corp., the University of North Dakota Aerospace Foundation and pilot Gary Prokop were all negligent in the crash.

Cirrus made the plane that crashed on Jan. 18, 2003, killing Prokop, 47, and James Kosak, 51, his friend and passenger. Both men were from Grand Rapids. Their families alleged that the pilot was negligent and that Cirrus was negligent for not adequately training him.

The Itasca County jury agreed, and ruled Thursday night.

Chuck Pineo, executive vice president of the UND Aerospace Foundation, said the foundation is considering its legal options.

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