The long trial that pitted Cessna Aircraft Company against a pilot who suffered crippling injuries in a 2005 plane crash at Katama airfield ended abruptly Wednesday in a confidential settlement, lawyers said.
After nearly a month of testimony and on the eve of closing arguments, lawyers conferred during a sidebar with Dukes county superior court Judge Cornelius Moriarty 2nd and Alec Naiman, pilot of the Cessna 172-N plane that crashed on June 23, 2005.
When they emerged, the case had ended. Although there was no formal announcement, Donald J. Nolan, one of Mr. Naiman’s lawyers, and Ralph G. Wellington, an attorney for Cessna, confirmed that the case had been settled and the terms were confidential.
Mr. Naiman, who is deaf, has been confined to a wheelchair since the crash. He was part of a Deaf Pilots Association “fly-in” in which about 10 planes headed to Katama from Plymouth. Mr. Naiman’s two passengers, Jeffrey Willoughby, and his daughter Jessica, settled with Cessna late last week.
The case was unusual because it included the constant presence of sign language intepreters for the plaintiffs, and was conducted in a cramped, makeshift courtroom in the Edgartown town hall. The first-floor selectmen’s hearing room provided easier access for Mr. Naiman and averted tying up a busy courtroom across the street for a month.
“All the parties wanted to thank the citizens of Martha’s Vineyard, especially the jurors who were attentive and devoted,” said Thomas P. Routh, a lawyer for Mr. Naiman.