layitontheline
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 11:30 pm

Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Fri Jun 21, 2002 6:53 pm

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??
 
sccutler
Posts: 5581
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Fri Jun 21, 2002 8:58 pm

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...
 
Boeing757/767
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Fri Jun 21, 2002 9:01 pm

Wish they'd get a life. They should be glad they landed safely.
Free-thinking, left-leaning secularist
 
Greg
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:41 pm

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 You do, however, have the right to be withdrawn from the 'class" and seek specific remedy individually (but it's not usually a good idea).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 $$$).
 
Cpt Underpants
Posts: 160
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:41 pm

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.
 
RickB
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:45 pm

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
 
Boeing757/767
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Fri Jun 21, 2002 10:47 pm

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
 
goingboeing
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Fri Jun 21, 2002 11:49 pm

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.
 
airman99o
Posts: 871
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Fri Jun 21, 2002 11:53 pm

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.
 
Greg
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 12:15 am

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.
 
Squigee
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 12:21 am

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.
 
Greg
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 12:25 am

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.
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 12:29 am

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.
 
eugdog
Posts: 426
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 12:48 am

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!
 
lmml 14/32
Posts: 2358
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 1:37 am

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.
 
Squigee
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 1:47 am

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.
 
Dash8King
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 2:16 am

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.
 
rootsgirl
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 2:19 am

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!
 
Mirabilis
Posts: 63
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 2:19 am

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.
 
GD727
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 2:49 am

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.
 
Greg
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 2:54 am

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.

 
Marcus
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 2:58 am

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
 
goingboeing
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 3:18 am

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.
 
Greg
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 3:47 am

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.
 
SAAB340
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 4:05 am

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
 
Dash8King
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 4:12 am

Maintenence put I think an L-1011 fuel part on the A330, then the pilot dumped fuel out of the wrong engine.
 
goingboeing
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 4:30 am

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's correct - but here's the thing, and I'll use a real example. Somebody tried making a collect call by dialing 1-800-Collect, except that they misdialed and pressed 1-800-Colllect. That put them thru to another company that charged more than 1-800-Collect. Instead of paying $2 for the call, the party he called had to pay $10. Now, if Joe Phonecall were to contact an attorney for him to represent his case, any decent law firm should tell him to leave. But they don't. Instead, they use him as the "lead plantiff" in a "class action lawsuit". What this does is provide some bad press from the company running the 1-800-COLLLECT number. Rather than face the bad press of a "class action lawsuit, all the injured parties will get a $5 long distance card and the law firm will pocket upwards of a million dollars in damages.

That's why these attorneys want to file against the airline, the aircraft manufacturer, and the engine manufacturer (perhaps RR should design an engine that can run when there's no fuel???)

And greg...if you're a lawyer, perhaps you can tell me how many of the class action lawsuits filed by Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP are anything more than a burden on the courts? Hell, how many even make it to court?
 
Marrrty
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 4:44 am

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.
 
Greg
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 4:53 am

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're asking. Is this the firm that screwed you on your roof?

Schiffrin & Barroway settles most their cases out of court--they admit this. They are exceedingly good at recruiting class action plaintiffs. Are these the ones your talking about?

Digital Lightwave--out of court
Sears--out of court
State Farm--out of court
PaineWebber--dont' know this one
Charter Mediacal--out of court
Catepillar--court award/appealed/then uphelp.

By their own account....over $1Billion in settlements since the firms inception. Impressive.

I'm fully aware of why the manufacturer, engine maker, airline, etc. are named as defendants. I would name them too.
 
layitontheline
Posts: 85
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 5:04 am

Capt Piche as far as I know is on long-term sick leave since January.
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 5:11 am

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 fault" attitude. 99% of the "class" is someone who got caught up in the "IPO" wave and started chunking money into stocks that were overvalued (mark my words, within a year they will have a class action suit against jetblue and Goldman Sachs). Then, when the market tanks, it's somebody elses fault that they made the investment. Did any of the S&B clients get anything close to their original investments back? Doubtful. What was S&B's portion of doing nothing more than launching a bad PR campaign against these firms?

Curious though - you say you'd name Rolls Royce in the suit - on what grounds?
 
Dash8King
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 5:31 am

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 am alive. I doubt very much you would do that. They were playing with there lives.
 
Mirabilis
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2001 2:54 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 6:59 am

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 on a contingency basis.

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 contingency-fee basis. For example, imagine a publicly-traded company that engages in securities fraud. Each individual plaintiff may only be damaged by a $10-$100 at most, and, despite the fact that the plaintiff has a legally and factually strong case, no attorney would ever agree to represent that single plaintiff on a contingency fee basis with the prospect of recovering only $3-$30 in fees.

To give another example, consider a class of Enron employees who are suing the company for securities fraud, which resulted in the depletion of their individual 401(k) plans. For plaintiffs with only a few thousand dollars at issue, there is no likelihood of an attorney representing that plaintiff individually, as the costs of litigation will far exceed any expected recovery. Yet, you would surely concede that those plaintiffs have legally and factually viable (and strong) claims.

Your proposal of eliminating class action lawsuits altogether is very damaging to plaintiffs who have small individual claims and who could not otherwise afford to vindicate their legal rights. If those claims are small, then, by definition, a lawyer is not going to represent that individual on a contingency-fee basis, so the logic in your proposal completely escapes me.

Your proposal also ignores plaintiffs who are suing for things OTHER than money, such as an injunction (e.g., a class of prisoners suing the state to improve prison conditions). If the lawsuit is non-monetary to begin with, then your proposal falls flat.

Finally, you have still failed to address the point that requiring hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of plaintiffs to proceed individually, even if they could get representation (which is unlikely), would be enormously burdensome to the legal system--much more so than a single action pending in a single court.

Indeed, a vast majority of suits are settled in amounts as little as $5, while the law firms take is considerably more.

You are completely ignoring the issue of injunctive and declaratory (as well as other non-monetary) relief that frequently results from class-action settlements.

If a class succeeds in obtaining an injunction that forces a company to reform its unlawful practices, then that is obviously a tremendous benefit. Besides, in most cases, the underlying premise of a class action is that the individual claim amounts will be small. Therefore, your suggestion that something is flawed in the system because individuals recover small amounts, is grossly illogical.

The general public hears "class action lawsuit" and visions of $$$$$ dance in their heads.

With all due respect, you seem to be the one with a misperception of what the purpose of the class action is.
 
rootsgirl
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 9:24 am

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 Capt Piche and the F/o actually transferred the fuel out of the aircraft by mistake.

I am not a pilot, however, we have 330's in our fleet and many of our pilots have stated that this fact will be exposed in the official report from Transport Canada.

Also, the cockpit voice recorder had been manually switched off. This was noted by the Portugese authorites. There is a way to tell if the voice recorder has been shut off manually...it can't be reactivated. Why would they shut it off.

Yes, Capt Piche and the f/o did a phenomenal job of utilizing their resources which were literally none and gliding that helpless bird to the ground. But, praise the higher powers for allowing all conditions to be just such so that this amazing feat could be done.

So, you screw up...you correct it and you get the aircraft on the ground. It seems to be a domino effect from when the aircraft was on the ground in Canada to a possible pilot error which inadvertantly expediated the problem.

Transat is probably one of the safest airlines to fly on now because they are under a lot of scrutiny from Canadian transport authorities.
 
User avatar
yyz717
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RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 10:29 am

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 saved the lives of passengers they nearly jeopardized.

I can see a CALS against TS and the pilots, but perhaps not Airbus or Rolls Royce.

Anyway, I think it's reasonable that both pilots be fired. Are they still flying for TS?


I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
Planeawesome
Posts: 98
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2000 6:32 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 10:36 am

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 two for each passenger (less 50% legal fees of course).

Even better, hire the lawyers who put Piper out of business. Then maybe the passengers could get 100 or 200 million each.

Maybe while they're at it they could obliterate the airline insurance business which is already on life support after 9/11.

No, even better, why don't we just ban flying so people can never risk surviving an airline flight again.

Sorry. Maybe we should all just stay in bed for the rest of our lives in case something bad happens to us. Yeah, that's it.
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 10:47 am

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 contingency-fee basis. For example, imagine a publicly-traded company that engages in securities fraud. Each individual plaintiff may only be damaged by a $10-$100 at most, and, despite the fact that the plaintiff has a legally and factually strong case, no attorney would ever agree to represent that single plaintiff on a contingency fee basis with the prospect of recovering only $3-$30 in fees

Whatever became of "live and learn". If I'm out $100, don't do business with that outfit again. In a class action, the person who was out $100 might only get $10 in a class action settlement. Though the lawsuit might "punish" the offending company by lumping all a million folks who are out $100 into one big group, and may well force them to change their business practice, in the end, all future customers will foot the bill for the settlement in the form of increased costs. Sort of like robbing Peter (all of us) to pay Paul (the injured parties).

Your proposal also ignores plaintiffs who are suing for things OTHER than money, such as an injunction (e.g., a class of prisoners suing the state to improve prison conditions). If the lawsuit is non-monetary to begin with, then your proposal falls flat.

Most "non monetary" lawsuits usually end up costing someone (usually the taxpayers) to pay up. YOu point out a good example though...I thought prisoners gave up their rights by commiting a crime. I've never spent the night in a jail, but I've sure paid enough in taxes to build some new, fancy, climate controlled, cable tv equipped prisons, and I've paid to stock the prison library with law books.

The general public hears "class action lawsuit" and visions of $$$$$ dance in their heads.

With all due respect, you seem to be the one with a misperception of what the purpose of the class action is.


Try this...tell someone that they are a potential member of a class action lawsuit in a case against General Motors. Don't tell them that the "wrong" was that they charged $3.50 more than the law permitted for a widget...just tell them that they are a potential class member. Then get them to join the class action, and tell me how many start dreaming of getting a new car with their newfound settlement. It's greed, my friend, pure and simple. Human nature.
 
captaingomes
Posts: 6251
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2001 1:33 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 12:14 pm

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 millions of dollars richer.

It is very reasonable to sue in an instance like this due to the emotional stress that the passengers faced. There have been enough posts to make this point clear. However, it is not a step which should make the passengers rich, nor should it be a step which would jeapardize the viability of Air Transat. If this does make Air Transat take safety and maintenance as their number one priority, then this is a great bonus for Canadian aviation. If the lawsuit is dismissed for the reasons that some of you have posted already, then Air Transat and other airlines will realize that they can get away with spotty maintenance and safety practises.

Good luck to everybody at Air Transat.
"it's kind of like an Airbus, it's an engineering marvel, but there's no sense of passion" -- J. Clarkson re: Coxster
 
rootsgirl
Posts: 512
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 3:48 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 1:44 pm

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 me tell you their lives will never be the same again.

Yes, we all know it is a risk you take, but to know that it could have been prevented is another story!

To hell with staying in bed, if an airline jeopardizes safety then they should face investigation and consequences. ( ValuJet ???).

Air Transat is a very rich airline, they will not suffer a demise because of this.
 
layitontheline
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 11:30 pm

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sat Jun 22, 2002 9:54 pm

I have to agree with rootsgirl!!!
 
delta-flyer
Posts: 2631
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2001 9:47 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Laws

Sun Jun 23, 2002 1:21 am

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 in good shape, as far as airlines go, and have about $100 million in cash and securities. By naming Airbus and Rolls Royce in their lawsuit, the plaintiffs have access to much more cash -- probably ten times as much. That would make it worthwhile for the lawyers to pursue this lawsuit.

And the "deep pockets" rule holds that even if a defendant shares only a fraction of the blame, they may have to pay the entire judgment if the others cannot pay.

That's what pays the lawyers' salaries!

Cheers,
Pete
"In God we trust, everyone else bring data"
 
captaingomes
Posts: 6251
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2001 1:33 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sun Jun 23, 2002 1:41 am

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 portion of their earnings. However, running a money losing airline is also a very expensive thing to do. So despite the amount of money Air Transat has saved up, it will only last so long. If people have the choice, many will avoid Air Transat due to the things that have been happening, and the general impression on many that Air Transat has a bad safety record. I hope they do succeed in the long run and post a profit again very soon. There are too many people's jobs on the line, and they do provide a great service to the Canadian public, whether they appreciate it or not.
"it's kind of like an Airbus, it's an engineering marvel, but there's no sense of passion" -- J. Clarkson re: Coxster
 
RootsBoy
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 9:28 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sun Jun 23, 2002 2:27 am

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. Hmmmmmm, makes you wonder what post evacuation procedures were followed here.

Only time will tell what those poor passengers and crewmembers went through on that flight.

Roots Boy
 
Mirabilis
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2001 2:54 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sun Jun 23, 2002 5:11 am

Goeingboing:

Amazingly, rather than addressing the point that you originally brought up, and to which I responded, your post brings your irrelevant observations on the "live and learn" mentality and prisoners' rights, which has nothing to do with what we were discussing.

As you know, you originally claimed that there should be no class actions, but rather only individual actions on a contingency-fee basis. I responded by pointing out that your proposal denies justice to those who have suffered legal injury, but whose individual claim is not large enough to justify a contingency fee. Please explain how denying justice to a person who has a viable claim, but small damages, is fair or equitable.

Your observation that future customers will bear the cost of a settlement doesn't carry the day because your implication is not to ever seek redress against a company that breaks the law and harms consumers in the process. If we adopt your standard, then no company will ever face legal liability again and can break the law with impunity....Again, not exactly a shining example of justice.

The same applies to your comments about non-monetary class actions. Even though your commentary about prisoners' rights was unsolicited, if you think that every non-monetary class action costs "someone", and therefore should not be pursued, then you are again suggesting that no lawsuit should ever be filed, no matter how meritorious.

To use an example other than prisoners, there are numerous employment discrimination class actions in which a class of employees seek equitable relief (injunction/declaratory judgment) against a company (their employer) that has engaged in unlawful discrimination. Assuming the plaintiffs have a valid claim, is it your position that these lawsuits should not proceed as a class?
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sun Jun 23, 2002 5:48 am

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 thousands, if not millions of dollars, ask an attorney to represent them. If the attorney will not do it on a contingency basis, then that's a pretty good sign that the case doesn't have much merit. On the other hand, if somebody bought a $50 zip drive and it craps out after a month, then "live and learn" should apply - the solution is very simple, don't by Iomega products anymore. If they don't improve the quality of the drive, they'll go out of business. It's called "word of mouth".. Bob is looking for something to store a lot of data on. Joe says, "Whatever you do, don't buy an Iomega Zip drive, their crap". Bob buys another product. When the Iomega execs watch their market share drop and wonder why, someone eventually will listen to the engineer who says "Well, to be frank with you, that producted sucked". But no, you get a "class action lawyer" that will fight for everybody injured by the crappy zip drive. The injured party get's a $15 certificate towards another crappy zip drive and the lawyers get a new BMW. Doesn't seem fair, does it?

You pointed out prisoners rights...as an example of a class action lawsuit with no monetary reward. I was merely pointing out that as far as I'm concerned, anybody in prison gave up most of their rights, but my tax dollars are still going to give them a better life than some poor soul on the street who has trouble feeding his family, but hasn't resorted to crime (yet). Workplace descrimination - IMHO, the vast majority of discrimination cases are a waste of time. YOu've got someone who gets pissed off because someone of a different race/sex/sexual preference gets promoted over someone else. Maybe part of why they didn't get the promotion was because of that king sized chip on their shoulder, and somebody inadvertantly got sick and tired of walking on eggshells around this person and told them to shut the heck up. It had nothing to do with "discrimination" I'm not saying that there should be NO lawsuits, but in this case, there are 200 people who are quite capable of retaining counsel to represent them. If they feel they have a valid claim, then the case will follow the pattern most often followed, and Air Transat will settle out of court. Filing a class action, IMHO, will actually serve to LIMIT what an individual can get. Maybe thats not so bad, now that I think about it...bring on the lawsuit.
 
Red Panda
Posts: 1433
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2000 12:58 pm

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sun Jun 23, 2002 3:16 pm

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 rate. Secondly, if AirTransat followed all standard maintenance procedures, even (touch wood Smokin cool) the plane crashed, AirTransat would still not liable for the accident. The court will examine all the maintence records of the company. Anyhow, the it is the plaintiff's burden to prove that there was neligence in the mgmt, and that the negligence directly caused the accident.

In my opinion, I think the plaintiffs gonna lose.
r panda
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sun Jun 23, 2002 8:08 pm

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 there was "mental anguish").
 
Greg
Posts: 5539
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 1:11 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sun Jun 23, 2002 11:28 pm

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 unsatisfied client...I have 100 more that have sent me thank you cards.

It's clear that you are mad at atty's because:
A: You had a terrible divorce and your ex got a great lawyer; Smile
B: You actually thought you were going to get rich quick over your roof claim and are pissed it didn't work out.


Brgds.
 
User avatar
yyz717
Posts: 15689
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:26 pm

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Sun Jun 23, 2002 11:43 pm

Are those 2 pilots still flying for TS?

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
goingboeing
Posts: 4727
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 1999 1:58 am

RE: Air Transat Slapped With A Class Action Lawsuit

Mon Jun 24, 2002 12:15 am

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 it does, because the settlement stipulated that the homeowners hands were tied regarding even questioning why something would not be considered damaged by the court appointed inspectors. I discovered (after the fact - and after the time period to "opt out" of the class) that the settlement allowed them to set my damages based on the opinon of one person, and the homeowner wasn't allowed to even point to an area that was being disqualified and ask a single question..."Why?".

As far as the airline case goesThe case involves Delta...sorry, don't have the case number, but here's the story:

An airline passenger in Montana has been awarded $1.25 million for a bad landing! Delta Air Lines was ordered to pay the passenger who says she was left with a post-traumatic stress disorder after a terrifying flight and landing in 1996.

Legal experts say this appears to be the first time an airline passenger has won a verdict for post-traumatic stress.

A Billings, Montana woman said she suffered flashbacks after her flight from London to Cincinnati made an emergency landing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.

The plane developed a stabilizer problem and flight attendants prepared the passengers for a crash landing. The crew landed the plane safely.

Think about this: Now airlines can lose lawsuits even when they do everything right. It could be a no-win situation for them from now on if juries tend to go this way.


Please don't get me wrong...I don't have a problem with lawyers. I do have a problem that the USA seems to have listened to a variation of Doug Lewellin's advice "If you have a problem, don't take the law into your own hands - you take them to court". Maybe I have problems with the bleeding heart jury pool that thinks that every corporation has a fountain of cash to pay exhorbitant awards for basically frivolous lawsuits. And yes, PTS after a safe landing is frivolous.