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News, Santa Monica, Courts, Santa Monica Airport

Sons Of Woman Killed In Santa Monica Airport Crash File Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Kyla Dupont was identified Friday as one of the four aboard the fatal plane crash at SMO.
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Kyla Dupont was identified Friday as one of the four aboard the fatal plane crash at SMO.

Posted Nov. 8, 2013, 9:13 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

The estate of Mark Benjamin is being sued by the family of a passenger killed in the Sept. 29 plane crash at Santa Monica Airport (SMO).

The complaint alleging negligence and wrongful death was reportedly filed Nov. 5 in the Los Angeles Superior Court by Charles Dupont, Eliot Dupont, and Jackson Dupont. The three plaintiffs are sons of Kyla Dupont.

Kyla Dupont was one of four passengers killed when a Cessna plane landed Sept. 29 at SMO and veered a hard right into a hangar at the northwestern corner of the runway.

Mark Benjamin, the CEO of Santa Monica-based Morley Builders at the time of the crash, was among the killed; he was the pilot of the plane and at the controls when the crash occurred.

Also listed in the complaint as a defendant was MML Investments, according to news reports. MML Investments is an aircraft and real estate firm based in Malibu.

A preliminary report published by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated the wrecked plane

was registered to MML Investments (specifically CREX-MML LLC).

How much the lawsuit seeks in damages was not released in news reports, though The Mirror will look into obtaining legal records to determine what the plaintiffs are specifically seeking and alleging.

CBS Los Angeles reported the plaintiffs made several allegations against the plane’s pilot, including improper control of the plane, failure to ensure a safe flight, unreasonable actions in landing the aircraft, and not keeping the plane in good repair.

Representatives from both sides were not reached for comment at the time of press; The Mirror’s coverage will be updated with additional comments and perspectives from both sides if and when they are provided.

The two others claimed by the plane crash were Mark Benjamin’s son, Lucas Benjamin, and Lauren Winkler.

A story in the Idaho Conservation League remembering the life of Mark Benjamin after the Sept. 29 crash stated he had regularly flown to and from Idaho, with SMO a part of his itinerary.

As previously reported in The Mirror, the NTSB’s preliminary report stated no plane debris was on the runway, all landing gear tires were inflated and without unusual wear patterns. Similarly, the NTSB stated the pilot of the plane did not report any problems to the control tower prior to landing.

The twin-engine jet departed Sept. 29 from an airport in Hailey, Ida., and arrived at SMO just after 6:20 pm and crashed into a hangar at the far end of the runway. Authorities say the jet continued veering toward the right – or northwest – as it was taxiing the runway from east to west.

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Comments

Nov. 8, 2013, 9:53:06 am

Candy said...

What a horrible thing to do to the family of Mark Benjamin. He was an incredible human being. Shame on you for trying to profit from your mother's death. I am quite sure that she did not get in the airplane by force. Accidents happen. She chose to fly with him. This is an atrocity.

Nov. 8, 2013, 10:15:50 am

Sad but true said...

Lawyers and Insurance companies always convince survivors to sue everyone in a case like this. They'll sue the airport, the plane manufacturer maybe even the tire makers and see how much settlement money they can get. Doesn't matter who's at fault. It's a lottery. All of the people on board were wealthy. Whenever there is money involved there will be greed. Not all wealthy people are bad but there is certainly enough with a skewed set of priorities. They put maintaining the wealth at all costs at the top of their list. ...And that is one of the biggest things wrong with America today.

Nov. 8, 2013, 10:49:25 am

Reverend Justito said...

Disgusting, simply disgusting. I get it sucks that your Mother died, but as has already been said before, accidents happen.

Nov. 8, 2013, 11:28:02 am

Devil's Advocate said...

Maybe, juts maybe, Mark was negligent. I'm not saying he was a bad person but humans aren't' without faults. Perhaps the Citation was too much airplane for his experience level. Just because you can afford it doesn't mean you should be flying it solo. Perhaps the passengers weren't aware of just how inexperienced he was or just how hard it is to fly a jet by yourself. I don't think they should bankrupt his surviving family but they may be entitled to something. One thing is for sure...It was NOT the airport's fault this happened. They could have met the same fate anywhere.

Nov. 9, 2013, 2:05:27 am

Robert (Bob) Smith said...

Mr Benjamin was an experienced Pilot, especially with the Twin Engine "Citation" jet. The real possibility is that he suffered a heart attack, in the spasm that can occur, he probably pulled on the column, causing the aircraft to veer sharply to the right and therefore crashing. The Lawyers and the three sons of Kyla Dupont are suing for suing's sake.

Nov. 9, 2013, 12:01:52 pm

Jen said...

To the sons of Kyla DuPont - I am truly sorry for your loss, but this unfounded, selfish and opportunistic move cannot undo this tragedy. This was in every sense, a heartbreaking accident. This lawsuit simply inflicts more grief and pain on a family that has already lost two members. I had the wonderful privilege of knowing and flying (on many occasions) with Mark. He was not only conscientious, but a skilled, and very experienced pilot. He took safety seriously, was diligent about maintenance and repairs and never would have endangered the lives of anyone, especially his own son. Mark was one of the kindest, generous and upstanding people I have ever known. I can only hope that he was choosing to surround himself with like kind, in which case your mother would be ashamed. I hope that you reconsider this self-centered move.

Nov. 10, 2013, 6:08:52 pm

H said...

They use the heart attack excuse way too much. Pulling back on the yoke would only serve to slow the plane down more not cause it to crash. We might have to accept that even experienced people can make mistakes and single pilot in a jet those mistakes can have dire consequences.

Nov. 14, 2013, 8:09:06 am

Natalie said...

Greed breeds greed...

Nov. 23, 2013, 7:16:02 pm

Debbie said...

As I do feel sorry for the loss of there mother,sister, and daughter I have to say would it be possible for the people that Kyla bilked out of hundreds of thousands of dollars then recently filed bankruptcy on them will they have a chance to re-coop there losses against the estate? It was an accident..let it go

Jan. 2, 2014, 10:15:49 pm

Inqminds said...

@Debbie, what is the story on Kyla. I can only find pictures of her in handcuffs but it does say what she did. Rip Mark, Luke and Lauren. Jake, Cj and Collins too. We think about you all the time

Jul. 26, 2014, 12:24:17 pm

Abbey said...

You go for it boys. I believe in you. And, Kyla defiantly believed in you. You've got to wake up in the morning with a smile on your face. See you 3 soon. ~Abbey

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