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Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit  
User currently offlineLayitontheline From Canada, joined Jan 2002, 85 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 3349 times:

Class-action lawsuit against airlines a go


By PAUL KORING

Toronto Star
Thursday, June 20, 2002 – Print Edition, Page A6


An Ontario court ruling has cleared the way for a single class-action lawsuit against Air Transat, Airbus and Rolls-Royce in a near-disaster over the Atlantic when Air Transat's Flight 236 ran out of fuel.

Although there were no deaths and few serious injuries in the "dead-stick" landing and emergency evacuation at a Portuguese military air base in the Azores on Aug. 24, 2001, many of the 291 passengers "believed they were going to die" after being told to prepare for a ditching at sea, lawyers handling the lawsuit said.

*******

What does this mean for the airline, will they surrive??

50 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSccutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5521 posts, RR: 28
Reply 1, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 3292 times:

What it means is that some very ambitious attorneys intend to get a pile of money.

This suit (if it is, in fact, a "class action") misses the entire point of class action suits; no "class" is needed, since the actual class members are known and readily identified (i.e., all passengers on board the aircraft).



...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineBoeing757/767 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 2282 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 3288 times:

Wish they'd get a life. They should be glad they landed safely.


Free-thinking, left-leaning secularist
User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3274 times:

Glad they landed safely? Ditch the hero worship...the flight crew was negligent in not monitoring the fuel loss condition which was preventable.

Scuttler: That's not valid. Class members need to be identified, otherwise how they claim remedy? You do, however, have the right to be withdrawn from the 'class" and seek specific remedy individually (but it's not usually a good idea). This is a actually a good example of a Class Action suit, because:

a) the 'class' is excessive (250+); making individual claims of all members impractical.
b) the facts are common in each claim.
c) the defense for each claim is the same
d) the lawyers can adequately protect the interest of all members.
e) the harrassment value is much greater (more $$$).


User currently offlineCpt Underpants From Canada, joined May 2001, 166 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3273 times:

They should be glad they landed safely???? What a ridiculous statement! The final report from the investigators will bear this out.

No matter what any of us thinks about the lawyers who agreed to file this law suit or their clients, the simple fact is, the folks at Air Transat are the ones that should be glad they landed safely. It was only good luck, and not good management (on many levels), that allowed it to happen that way. Then again, an airplane lost at sea might just have served to hide much of what happened that night. Thankfully, it worked out differently.


User currently offlineRickB From United Kingdom, joined May 2003, 243 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3270 times:

I think this is a legitimate case against the airline, it appears to be their error which endangered the lives of passengers and crew.

The only concern I have is how Airbus and Rolls Royce could be named in the suit. What did RR do, build engines that wont run on thin air??? What did the airframe do? so I fail to see how Airbus are involved. The only thing I can think of which could incriminate Airbus is if fuel gauges where faulty or have a design fault which doesn't appear to be the case here !!

RickB


User currently offlineBoeing757/767 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 2282 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3265 times:

That's what I meant -- Given all that went wrong, they should be glad they landed safely. Sure, it was terrifying. But why sue? They're ALIVE.


Free-thinking, left-leaning secularist
User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3241 times:

The only concern I have is how Airbus and Rolls Royce could be named in the suit. What did RR do, build engines that wont run on thin air??? What did the airframe do? so I fail to see how Airbus are involved. The only thing I can think of which could incriminate Airbus is if fuel gauges where faulty or have a design fault which doesn't appear to be the case here !!

It's called "deep pockets". Pretty common in a "class action" lawsuit - identify who has the most money and sue them.

FWIW, I believe that Scuttler is a lawyer, so I wouldn't doubt what he said. My view - if someone on the plane wants to sue the airline/RR/Airbus/the Canadian government/my uncle Fred - then they would be better off to opt out of the "class action", as the goal of most class action attorneys is to get a decent fee for themselves and settle for as little as possible for the "injured parties". If you want to sue, find your own attorney, ask him to take the case on a contingency basis. If he balks - consider that a sign that he doesn't feel that any award will be enough to compensate him for his time.


User currently offlineAirman99o From Canada, joined Aug 1999, 975 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3234 times:

WOW,
Was wondering when this was going to happen. I hope it doesn't put the nail in the coffin for AT. but I have to agree with most of the postings here. The people should be thankful that they are all still alive. Everything was in their favour when landing, the winds were right the day couldn't have been better. Well a little fuel would have helped. Sure the landing was a little hard, and the slides off the plane probably caused some injuries. some people just need to get their heads checked.

Airman99o



Safety is Everyones Responsibility.
User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3223 times:

Goingboeing,

How do you know the 'goal of most attorney's? Are you psychic?

For the most part, the law firm's piece of class action settlements is less than the 40% we normally receive on individual awards.

And although I can't speak for Canadian law, this does qualify as a class action suit in the US.

As I stated earlier, you can remove yourself from 'class' membership and seek remedy on your own. Perhaps if you injured yourself during evacuation or had a heart attack because of the fright, then your case for 'going it alone' would be justified. Otherwise, probably not worth the fight.

Let's quit with the lawyer bashing.


User currently offlineSquigee From Canada, joined May 2001, 652 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3217 times:

Note to Pilots and Airlines- Don't bother saving the asses of your passengers in an emergency. Turns out it's more cost effective to send a bouquet to the widows than to bother with the lawsuits.


Someday, we'll look back at this, laugh nervously, and then change the subject.
User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3213 times:

Squiggles,

The pilots only 'saved their asses' because of an emergency they themselves created! The incident was 100% avoidable.

What is your response to that? Not your normal childish response, one based on some knowledge.


User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 16
Reply 12, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3212 times:

Greg...you misquoted me...I said the goal of most class action attorneys ...

Sorry, but I've just "won" a class action lawsuit...the siding on my home is bad. I got $1,000 for it. Nevermind that $1,000 won't even PAINT my house, much less replace the defective siding. And...the best part is, now that I have "won" this lawsuit, I am required to disclose the settlement should I decide to sell my home. That oughta be good enough for someone to knock ten grand off the offer.

You betcha that class action lawyers take less than the 40% you normally recieve for for individual awards. But most class action lawsuits end up giving someone either a "coupon" that can be used towards the purchase of another one of the company's products (Iomega comes to mind), or a cash settlement of as little as $5.00.

Here's some "benefits" to the class members versus the legal fees:

An Alabama state court approved a class action settlement brought by the bank's account holders under which the plaintiffs' attorneys received $8.5 millionand the 700,000 class members received about $10 each. Worse, class members had up to $100 deducted from their mortgage escrow accounts to pay for exorbitant legal fees owed by the bank under the settlement, meaning that class members suffered a net loss from the litigation. For example, one plaintiff received an award of $2.19, but had his account debited by $91.33 to pay the lawyers' fees. The angered class members sued the lawyers for malpractice, but the suit was dismissed on a technicality. In response, the lawyers sued the class members for $25 million, alleging libel. Eventually, the case was settled.

A cereal manufacturer was sued in a class action suit over a food additive, although there was no evidence of injury to consumers. The lawyers reaped $2 million in fees, or about $2,000 an hour, while the class members received coupons for free cereal.

A computer maker was the target of a class action suit in Texas over a "flaw" that was never proved in 5 million of its laptops. Ordered by the judge into arbitration, the company settled for $2.1 billion in 1999. The judge awarded the trial lawyers $147.5 million in legal fees. Class members settled for cash or coupons of $210-$443.


I'm not bashing lawyers...I have a fair number of friends who are lawyers. I am bashing class action lawsuits and the firms that bring them because in 99.9% of the cases, the rewards go to the legal team, not the injured parties.


User currently offlineEugdog From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2001, 518 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3194 times:

The passengers should be entitled to compensation for the trauma they suffered. They under went a terrifying experience. More if the trauma resulted from the negligence of the airline then it is the airline that should be sued.

However some allowance should be made for the fact that aircraft are intrinsically quite dangerous (on a per journey basis). I heared that one passenger got a million dollars for trauma resulting from an emergency landing! That is too much!


User currently offlineLMML 14/32 From Malta, joined Jan 2001, 2565 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3178 times:

What the airline's lawyers should do is profile each and every passenger. Anybody who has ever participated in extreme sports should be immediately excluded from the case.
How ridiculous.


User currently offlineSquigee From Canada, joined May 2001, 652 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days ago) and read 3170 times:

Greglina,

Since when do pilots perform maintenance on their own engines? I agree, they should have monitored thier fuel, but the crew was not specifically trained for this situation. If the regulatory agencies don't require this training, how can the pilots be expected to know what do do.

It's very easy for you to sit back and say what should have happened and what the crew should have done. If you were the pilot in command, there would be a huge splash in the ocean that day.

Get off your high horse.



Someday, we'll look back at this, laugh nervously, and then change the subject.
User currently offlineDash8King From Canada, joined Nov 2001, 2743 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days ago) and read 3152 times:

No they shouldn't just be happy they landed. I wouldn't care if it was me but if a lawyer said we can make some easy cash then hell yes I would take it. Like anyone of you would say no to it. They screwed up and they'll have to pay that's all there is to it, that's life. If it wasn't that flight it would have happened on the way back or some other time.

User currently offlineRootsgirl From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 530 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days ago) and read 3156 times:

What abut the crew? Can't they join in the lawsuit? They work for a company that jeopordized their lives too!

I am a crewmember and if it all came out that the airline I work for knowingly screwed up by putting different parts on an aircraft then I would feel that the airline is personally responsible for my duress and putting my life on the line.

And as for " They should be glad they landed safely". Are you for real? They are LUCKY they landed safely!!!!

But...what were they thinking during that last long hour, mins and seconds as they witnessed the cabin lighting system going out, had to endure a ditching demo from the cabin crew, practise crash brace positions and think about the fact they may not be in existance anymore. How horrifying.

And then to learn after that it could have all been prevented if the "top brass" practised mandated saftey requirements.

I say sue their asses off!


User currently offlineMirabilis From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 74 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (12 years 3 months 4 days ago) and read 3154 times:

Goingboeing:

I think you're missing an important aspect of the class action, which is to provide plaintiffs, for whom it would otherwise not be affordable or practical to maintain separate lawsuits, a way to vindicate their legal rights. I haven't read the allegations in the Air Transat class action, but in many instances the suit is not just for monetary relief, but also for declaratory and/or injunctive relief.

Even if the individual recovery remains small, the class action device can still be an effective way of forcing a large corporation to take needed remedial action.

To give an example, a plaintiff who has been defrauded by unfair debt collection practices, but has only suffered $500-$1000 in damages, is not going to have the incentive to spend tens of thousands suing the company individually, either to stop/reform the practices or to recover its damages. If, however, there is an identifiable class of plaintiffs whose claims can be aggregated, there IS an incentive to bringing that litigation and forcing the offending company to reform its practices.

In the context of a mass tort/disaster case (like an airplane crash, etc.), aggregating plaintiffs' claims--which all arise out of the same circumstances and involve the same facts and legal questions--provides for a much more manageable and efficient way of adjudicating those claims. Proceeding with 250+ individual lawsuits involving the same questions of fact and law would be an undue burden on the judicial system.

While there may be abuse in the class action context, in all fairness, I think your post omitted to mention some of the benefits of the class action device.


User currently offlineGD727 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 925 posts, RR: 10
Reply 19, posted (12 years 3 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3135 times:

More sue happy sh*theads! They should be praising the pilots of that flight for doing an incredible job landing a big, powerless, A330 at a tiny Army base! People should not be able to sue for "emotional trauma", if they were not hurt, they deserve NOTHING!

-GD727



Mmmm forbidden donut.
User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (12 years 3 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3133 times:

Rootsgirl...yes, you could sue. I am not sure it would be under the same 'class' as the pax, but if your employer puts you in needless jeapardy...then yes.



User currently offlineMarcus From Mexico, joined Apr 2001, 1798 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (12 years 3 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3130 times:

Could anyone provide a link or details to this incident?.....everyone seems to point out that it was the crew and airlines fault, could someone shed more light on this?.....what escatly happened?...why was it avoidable?

This incident was plastered all over the news when it happened, but now I can't seem to find a decent preliminary report on this.




Kids!....we are going to the happiest place on earth...TIJUANA! signed: Krusty the Clown
User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 16
Reply 22, posted (12 years 3 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3116 times:

mirabilis said:

Proceeding with 250+ individual lawsuits involving the same questions of fact and law would be an undue burden on the judicial system.


Can you sit there with a straight face and tell me that just about any class action lawsuit filed by Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP is anything more than an undue burden on the judicial system?

Most folks who have a valid claim against a company should be able to get representation on a contingency basis. That's why I suggest an "injured" party to seek representation on a contingency basis. If the law firm balks, would you not agree that this is a pretty good indcation of the odds the firm feels they have to win the case?

The problem today is that too many law firms exist solely for the purpose of pursuing "class action" lawsuits. The general public hears "class action lawsuit" and visions of $$$$$ dance in their heads. In reality, most of those cases are settled and the injured parties recieve a fraction of a fraction of what they could have from opting out of any "class" settlement and going at it alone. Indeed, a vast majority of suits are settled in amounts as little as $5, while the law firms take is considerably more.


User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (12 years 3 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3109 times:

Of course the law firm makes considerably more than each individual. That's totallly rudimentary.

If you have 500 plaintiffs and 10 attorneys how could it NOT be. You're also failing to see that the firm makes the money not the individual attorney. We are paid on a 'percentage of the percentage' with other factors calculated in (partner, associate, etc..first/second chair). For instance, I get XX% of the first XX% brought in.

It is rare to find any class action and/or personal injury that is not settled on a contingent fee basis. They simple don't exist here in the US.

The pilot in command made bad decisions which jeapordized the safety and well being of his passengers and crew. If he is not soley responsible, then he does share in the contributory negligence. I believe the plaintiffs will prevail in this action.


User currently offlineSaab340 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 320 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (12 years 3 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3095 times:

Wasnt the only responsible party in this event the maintence crew who should have caught the fuel line problem? Why is Airbus and RR being sued? Isnt there a contract that airlines sign once the aircraft is purchased taking responsiblity of the aircraft? Can anyone clear this up for me? Thanks

25 Dash8King : Maintenence put I think an L-1011 fuel part on the A330, then the pilot dumped fuel out of the wrong engine.
26 Goingboeing : It is rare to find any class action and/or personal injury that is not settled on a contingent fee basis. They simple don't exist here in the US. That
27 Marrrty : Did I hear correctly that Capt. Piche was let go by AT some months ago? Also, I read that he had signed a book and movie deal. Can anyone confirm/deny
28 Greg : Don't lump all lawyers and law firms into the same category. Not everyone gets an A in ethics. This is true in EVERY profession. I'm not sure what you
29 Layitontheline : Capt Piche as far as I know is on long-term sick leave since January.
30 Goingboeing : And the Shifferin and Barroway lawsuits are almost always "securities" related. Crap like that is one of the primary reasons the US has a "not my faul
31 Dash8King : Saying you just be happy you landed safely is like diving out of the way of a drunk driver and telling him don't worry about it I am just happy that I
32 Mirabilis : Goeingboing: I think you missed the entire point of my post. Most folks who have a valid claim against a company should be able to get representation
33 Rootsgirl : Apparently, further details will come out pertaining to the way the flight deck dealt with the situation. It has been said amongst other pilots that C
34 Yyz717 : It's an odd situation. Both pilots were definitely negligent in not monitoring fuel loads & balance, and yet pulled off an amazing landing.....so they
35 Planeawesome : Maybe some hot coffee was spilled on the passengers during the landing. That would be a double bonus. That could be worth maybe an extra million or tw
36 Goingboeing : mirabilis - That is logically and empirically false, as you well know. A plaintiff with a small claim is not going to be able to hire an attorney on a
37 Captaingomes : Let's remember folks, that this is a Canadian lawsuit, and not an American lawsuit. If this happened in the U.S. then each passenger would walk out mi
38 Rootsgirl : Give me a break about spilling coffee. I had 2 very close friends who were flight attendants on that flight ; I flew with at another airline and let m
39 Layitontheline : I have to agree with rootsgirl!!!
40 Delta-flyer : Air Transat is a very rich airline, they will not suffer a demise because of this. I just took a quick peek at their financial statements --- they are
41 Captaingomes : Air Transat has quite a bit of money saved up, and a nice mix of old and new aircraft. They have been very smart with their money by saving a good por
42 Rootsboy : Roots Girl is correct about the tampering of the CVR. From what I heard, it was manually re-stet. This apparently can only be done on the ground. Hmmm
43 Mirabilis : Goeingboing: Amazingly, rather than addressing the point that you originally brought up, and to which I responded, your post brings your irrelevant ob
44 Goingboeing : mirabel...I never said there should be "no" class actions...I said that if a person has a valid case, in this case, sueing an airline for hundeds of t
45 Post contains images Red Panda : Well, first of all, it is very hard to prove that the pilots had neligence. In fact, we don't know too much about the fact such as fuel consumption ra
46 Goingboeing : Panda...maybe the'll lose in Canada. In the USA, juries have awarded millions because a flight was diverted from CVG to DAY (landed safely, too - but
47 Post contains images Greg : Please cite that exact case. I don't believe it exists. And quit with the lawyer bashing--it's getting monotonous, and frankly very boring. For every
48 Yyz717 : Are those 2 pilots still flying for TS?
49 Goingboeing : Greg - wrong again.... no problem with any lawyers...in my only divorce, I had the better lawyer...the roof (siding) thing might play a part, indeed i
50 Delta-flyer : Well, Greg, you have to admit that lawyers are enjoying a bad rap because of a few that abuse the system. Having said that, I think class action suits
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