A production company for the 2017 film “American Made” alleges in new court papers that blame for the crash of a plane being used to transport crews for the Tom Cruise movie in Columbia is 2015 lies with one of two men who perished during the flight.
Alan Purwin, 54, died Sept. 11, 2015. Although Purwin was a pilot, he was not at the controls of the plane, but was sitting in a rear seat when it went down over rugged terrain.
Purwin’s widow, Kathryn Purwin, and two adult children Kyle and Michaela Purwin, filed a wrongful death suit in Los Angeles Superior Court in April 2016 against CCP Mena Film Holdings LLC and the estate of Carlos Berl, the man who piloted the aircraft and also died in the crash.
The suit, which was later transferred to Santa Monica Superior Court, alleges CCP Mena negligently directed or permitted Purwin to ride as a passenger in the aircraft.
But in their court papers seeking dismissal of all claims against the company, CCP Mena maintains it has no liability and that Purwin was in charge of the flight and owned the aircraft.
“Alan Purwin … had complete authority and control over the operation of the aircraft on the accident flight,” according to the CCP Mena court papers. “Alan Purwin alone made all the decisions regarding the operation of the aircraft … including deciding … who he allowed on board and who he allowed to operate the aircraft.”
CCP Mena “had absolutely zero control over Alan Purwin’s decisions related to the accident flight,” according to the company’s court papers.
Unknown to the producers, Purwin’s company, Heliblack, “proceeded to rush the purchase of the aircraft so that Alan Purwin could try to learn how to fly it,” according to CCP Mena’s court papers. “The facts now show that Alex Purwin’s cavalier attitude toward FAA rules, designed for safe aircraft operation, permeated both his lack of qualifications to safely operate the aircraft as well as failing to ensure the aircraft was airworthy.”
Purwin insisted that the flight take place because he wanted to spend the night in accommodations superior to what were available in the area from which the plane departed, according to CCP Mena’s court papers.
“Alan Purwin had a big personality and a big taste for luxury to accompany it,” CCP Mena’s court papers state.
A hearing on the CCP Mena dismissal motion is scheduled Dec. 5.
Purwin also was chairman of Helinet, a helicopter service based at Van Nuys Airport. The company assists news programs and filmmakers in providing aerial shoots.
Purwin was raised in North Hollywood.
“American Made,” originally entitled “Mena,” was a drama/thriller released in August 2017. It made nearly $135 million at the box office.