Families of at least five passengers killed when a plane crashed into a home last year have reached settlements with the airlines involved. More agreements are expected before a wrongful-death trial begins, lawyers said. Thus far, 39 lawsuits have been filed in U.S. District Court since the Newark, N.J.-to-Buffalo flight crashed into a house in suburban Clarence on an icy February night. All 49 people aboard the plane and the home’s owner were killed.
During a conference on October 6th with the lawyers involved in the lawsuits, Judge William Skretny said he likely would rule this month on the key issue of whether jurors in the trial, scheduled for March 2012, will be allowed to hear the full cockpit voice recording. According to lawyers for the victims’ families, the unedited recording of Continental Connection Flight 3407 will go beyond the already released written transcript in illustrating an overly-relaxed atmosphere in the cockpit, which investigators have said contributed to the February 12, 2009, crash. They want the actual recording, but lawyers for the airlines contend that for the written transcript of the conversations between Capt. Marvin Renslow and First Officer Rebecca Shaw is sufficient.
The lawsuits name Houston-based Continental Airlines; Colgan Air, the Manassas, Virginia, regional carrier that operated the flight, and Colgan parent Pinnacle Airlines, of Memphis, Tennessee. Also named in some cases are Montreal-based Bombardier Aerospace, the company that made the plane, and FlightSafety International, which helped train the pilots.
The National Transportation Safety Board in February said that the pilots’ improper response to a low-speed warning led the plane to go down just five miles from its destination. Among contributing factors, the panel said, were the crew’s inattention to airspeeds and violation of regulations prohibiting unnecessary conversation during takeoffs and landings. While the NTSB findings cannot be used in court, they parallel claims in the lawsuits that the pilots were improperly trained and made errors. The Defendants have denied that they recklessly operated and monitored Flight 3407, that they improperly trained its crew, and that the aircraft was not equipped to fly in icy conditions. The amounts of the settlements, while substantial, have not been disclosed.
Source: Insurance Journal
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.