Just over a year before the Doug Liman-directed Tom Cruise thriller American Made is set to be released, the family of a student pilot who was killed during filming has sued Imagine Entertainment, other producers, the estate of Hollywood stunt pilot Alan Purwin and more for wrongful death.
The defendants “so negligently, unlawfully and carelessly supervised, prepared, instructed, operated, entrusted, piloted, flew, controlled, and directed the Subject Aircraft so as to cause and/or allow it to collide with terrain, grievously injuring Plaintiff s decedent, Carlos Berl, who perished as a result of the injuries sustained in the crash,” claims the complaint from the Berl family filed Wednesday in L.A. Superior Court (read it here). It seeks multiple damages and a jury trial.
Berl and Purwin died when the twin-engine Aerostar they were flying in with pilot in command Jimmy Lee Garland crashed foggy conditions in the rugged Andes near Medellin, Colombia on September 11, 2015. Having wrapped filming that day, Cruise (seen at right with the experienced Purwin) was just ahead of the flight in a helicopter that landed safely. Garland survived the Aerostar crash.
Imagine, the Purwin estate, Garland and his company are named as defendants in today’s complaint, as are Cross Creek Pictures, Quadrant Pictures and Vendian Entertainment. Based on the life of ex-TWA pilot Barry Seals, American Made, formerly known as Mena, sees Cruise playing a drug smuggler who gets pulled in by the CIA for undercover matters in Central America during the Reagan era.
While not giving a specific number, the Berl family seeks damages “including but not limited to pecuniary losses, losses of support, services, property losses, love, care, comfort, society, solace, moral support, guidance and prospective inheritance, and such other remedies as may be permitted by law.” The 13-page complaint adds, “Plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for the decedent’s burial and funeral expenses and other damages.”
Today’s filing is the second wrongful-death suit to come out of the American Made crash. Back in April, Purwin’s estate sued Cross Creek, Imagine, Quadrant and Vendian and Berl’s estate. “Defendants knew that the Accident Aircraft would be flown over rugged, mountainous terrain and in the Republic of Colombia, and yet failed to ensure that Carlos Berl was competent, qualified, rested and sufficiently informed for the flight,” that seven-page, jury-seeking complaint alleged. The Purwin matter now is deep in filings back and forth between the various parties.
American Made is set to come out on September 29, 2017, from Universal.
The Berl family is represented by Daniel Hodes of Irvine’s Hodes, Milman & Liebeck LLP plus Jeff Korek of NYC’s Gersowitz Libo & Korek P.C. and Justin Green and Daniel Rose of NYC’s Kreindler & Kreindler LLP