comscore New trial ordered in Schofield soldier training death | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

New trial ordered in Schofield soldier training death

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now

The family of a 27-year-old Schofield Barracks solider killed when a mortar misfired at the Pohakuloa Training Area will get another chance to recover money from the manufacturer that assembled the mortar round.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals set aside this week a jury verdict that found General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products Inc. was not liable for causing the explosion.

 The court ordered a new trial.

Staff Sgt. Oscar Rodriguez was killed in the March 10, 2006 explosion. 

His family was joined in the suit by two other soliders injured and the family of another injured solider, Wilfredo Dayandante who died in 2009.

General Dynamics contended that operator error caused the blast.

The soldiers and their families claimed the mortar round exploded prematurely because of a manufacturing defect.

In a 2-1 ruling Thursday, the majority said the trial judge erred in allowing the testimony of a General Dynamics witness, an Army investigator.

The majority said the investigator was not certified as an expert, but allowed to present “specialized and highly technical testimony about the cause of the explosion.”

The dissenting judge said the admission of the investigator’s testimony was harmless because it could have been admitted as expert testimony.

When the verdict was returned in 2010, General Dynamics said it had offered $5.1 million to settle all claims, but the plaintiffs sought $29 million.

Comments have been disabled for this story...

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up