The production companies involved with Tom Cruise‘s “American Made,” formerly known as “Mena,” is getting hit by a wrongful death lawsuit, TheWrap has learned.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of Carlos Berl, the pilot who died when a plane carrying him and two others crashed during production in Colombia in September 2015.
The complaint alleges that the production companies allowed an unsuitable flight to occur without proper supervision or training, resulting in the death of two of the three occupants. According to the suit, the production houses were responsible for making sure that any flight in connection with the movie were safe.
On Sept. 11, 2015, the twin-engine Aerostar ran into bad weather after taking off from a small colonial town near Medellin, carrying Berl, Hollywood stunt pilot Alan Purwin — who was also killed — and pilot-in-command, Jimmy Lee Garland, the lone survivor of the crash.
Another helicopter carrying Cruise had travelled the same way 10 minutes earlier and safely arrived, but the plane never made it to its destination.
The suit also alleges that Berl repeatedly told the involved companies that he didn’t have enough flight experience in that particular aircraft to operate it safely.
“The movie production disregarded very basic safety procedures and did not properly plan or supervise the flight,” the family’s attorney Justin Green of Kreindler & Kreindler, LLP, said. “The dangerous flight should have never been permitted to take place. The film’s crew was rushing back to Medellin because they were behind schedule, and as a result, cost two crew members their lives.”
The family is seeking damages including loss of inheritance, loss of earnings, funeral and burial expenses, property damage, prejudgment interest, loss of comfort and costs of the suit.
This is actually the second wrongful death suit for the movie. In April, Purwin’s sued Creek Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, Quadrant Pictures, Vendian Entertainment 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,” the complaint filed by Purwin’s family stated.
“American Made” is directed by Doug Liman, written by Gary Spinelli and costars Domhnall Gleeson and Lola Kirke. The film is based on the true story of a former TWA pilot who worked for the late cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar and later became a DEA informant.
It is distributed by Universal and produced by Cross Creek. Universal had no comment on the latest lawsuit.