Families, airline reach settlement after deadly crash

August 1, 2008 4:19:13 PM PDT
A judge called off a trial Friday to hear lawsuits stemming from a 2006 plane crash that killed 49 people in Kentucky after family members and the airline reached settlements in most of the cases. Mark Armstrong, chief deputy clerk for U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, confirmed the Monday trial was was canceled. Details of the settlements have not been released.

The lawsuits claimed Comair was negligent because its pilots steered the plane in the pre-dawn darkness to the wrong runway, one that was too short for a proper takeoff. The jet hit trees and a perimeter fence before crashing in a farm next to Lexington's Blue Grass Airport.

Families for the two crew members who died in the crash as well as the lone survivor, co-pilot James Polehinke, had filed their own suits against the federal government and other parties, but not against Comair. Those cases also haven't been resolved, Baker said.

"Since the day of the accident, Comair has committed itself to treating the passenger families fairly and respectfully," Comair spokeswoman Kate Marx said. "It is comforting to come so far in this process and know we've honored our initial commitment.

One Kentucky case filed against Comair by a victim's family remained pending Friday, but no trial date has been set for it because of a recent change in attorneys, said Susan Baker, a court clerk handling the case. A separate case was filed in federal court in Florida. Marx said the Florida case hadn't settled as of Friday morning and didn't have any update Friday afternoon.

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