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Key Decision Expected in Buffalo, N.Y. Plane Crash Lawsuits

July 18, 2011

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July 18, 2011

A key decision is expected today regarding lawsuits filed by families who lost loved ones when Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo, New York, in 2009.

Federal Judge William Skretny tells attorneys that he’ll make an announcement Monday about punitive damages, which are intended to punish companies and prevent future accidents.

The issue to be decided is whether or not New York or Virginia law will apply in the lawsuits pertaining to Flight 3407. The airline company—Colgan Air and Pinnacle Air—is based in Virginia, though the crash occurred in New York. Virginia law would see that victims’ family members collect no more than $350,000 in punitive damages, but New York law could allow families to see a much larger amount.

The crash occurred February 12, 2009, around 9:20 p.m. when a commuter flight from Newark, New Jersey, to Buffalo, New York, stalled a mile from the runway at Buffalo Niagra International Airport and crashed into a house in northeast Buffalo. Fifty people total died, including two pilots, two flight attendants, 45 passengers, and the owner of the home that the Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 twin turboprop crashed into.

The National Transportation Safety Board has determined that the crash was the result of pilot error. While one pilot had reportedly lied about his in-flight experience, another pilot was found to be sleep-deprived and underpaid.

Read more.

When a plane crashes, do you think the resulting lawsuits should be governed by rules of the state in which the plane crashed or the state where the airline is based?

If you or someone you know has had their safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, contact the national aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy.

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

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