qqflyboy
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AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:06 am

American, Corporate and Trans States Airlines were all sued today by the daughter of a woman who was killed in the Corporate Airlines crash in Kirksville. The Corporate flight was operating as American Connection from St. Louis to Kirksville when it crashed just prior to landing in poor weather.

What is AA's culpability in a case like this? The lawsuit claims passengers were misled into believing the flight was operated by AA, with AA metal and flown by AA pilots. It also claims all three airlines played a part in allowing the doomed flight to be dispatched when the weather was poor. They also claim pilot fatigue may have been a factor.

Why Trans States was sued, I don't understand. The attorney claims they, too, are culpable, because Trans States provides ground handling for Corporate. Trans States said they do provide ground handling, such as passenger boarding, but not maintenance or training.
The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:10 am

Corperate might have to flight, but AA and Trans States will defiently get off the hook here....
every time AA has a codeshare flight, it says OPERATED BY_________ or the reservations agent says: "This flight is OPERATED BY_________!
and Trans States has no involvement. They don't dispatch!
NEXT FLIGHT: FLL-ATL-HPN on FL
 
kellmark
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:33 am

Its simple. Sue them all and let God sort em out. All good attorney will sue every possible plaintiff. As I recall, doesn't AMR own all of their regional carriers?
 
MAH4546
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:38 am

As I recall, doesn't AMR own all of their regional carriers?

No. They own only American Eagle and Executive Airlines. They don't own any of the American Connection carriers that are based out of St. Louis.
a.
 
loggat
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:40 am

Kellmark: As I recall, doesn't AMR own all of their regional carriers?

Nope, AMR owns Eagle. Corporate, Trans States, Chautauqua are separate contract carriers out of St. Louis under the American Connection banner.
There are 3 types of people in this world, those that can count, and those that can't.
 
SATL382G
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:41 am

All good attorney will sue every possible plaintiff who has a lot of money


"There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as being shot at and missed" --Winston Churchill
 
loggat
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:42 am

whoops, too slow...

filler
There are 3 types of people in this world, those that can count, and those that can't.
 
lincoln
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:45 am

1- I am not a lawyer, so if anyone wants to correct me...

2- From what I've seen reading the opinions issued lawsuits from previous accidents, it is common practice to sue anyone who had contact with the aircraft. Part of the theory is that by taking care of them all on the same lawsuit someone gets hit with the blame and a recovery can be made-- For example, if they sued Corporate Airlines and in that trial it was decided that they were just doing things the way American told them to so then the families sued American and lost that case because American used the argument that "Corporate should have known it was unsafe and done things differently" they would be unable to resue Corporate (double jeopardy)

3- It's far from unheard of for negligent ground handling (and I'm talking normal ground handling, not MX) to wind up causing a bird to come down so it's within the realm of possibility that Trans States did something to cause the crash (i.e. leaving a door open, improperly loading the baggage holds, etc.). I just read the accident report on an Electra crash from 1984 where the cause was the fueller leaving the door open and the resulting vibrations.

4- Regarding "Operated By" I have never had a res agent tell me that a flight was operated by a 3rd party.* Also, I don't think many people not associated with the airline industry in some way really understand what the term "Operated By" means, even if they saw/heard it somewhere. (and if they bought an e-Ticket over the phone, it is entirely possible that they didn't see any paper until getting to the airport) Think of it from a regular passenger's perspective: You show up at the airport, you go to a counter with "American" (or "American Connection" over it), you get a boarding pass that says "American Airlines" on it (with the "Operated by" notation) you look at American Airlines flight monitors, go to the gate where the announcement is made that "American Connection flight 1234 for XYZ is now boarding", you board an aircraft that has the American logo on the side, read American's inflight mag, even (assuming they're like DL and NW) get napkins and cups with American's logo on them. Add to this the fact that the "other" commuter carrier (Eagle) is AA owned and operated... The airlines try pretty hard to associate the commuter airlines with the mainline, and in doing so open themselves up to exactly this claim-- that pax THOUGHT they'd be flown by a mainline crew.


Lincoln

*- Once had an AS agent argue with me that it wasn't a 3rd party, it really was AS. I then asked why the website said that it was Operated by American Airlines and she conceded.

[Edited 2005-01-29 03:48:56]
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:45 am

What is AA's culpability in a case like this? The lawsuit claims passengers were misled into believing the flight was operated by AA, with AA metal and flown by AA pilots

Perhaps it's a case of "when we practice to deceive, what a tangled web we weave." Even though I (for one) do not believe for one nanosecond that AA actually "practiced to deceive" in this case, the fact remains that no matter how one chooses to spin it, the doomed flight carried an AA flight number, which is inherently misleading.

It was none other than "the patron saint" of AA himself, Bob Crandall, who was quoted about 10 years ago as speaking the truth on this issue with the succinct words: "code shares are deceptive." Wonder if this will be brought up in the hearing or trial of this case?
 
atrude777
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:22 pm

Ohh geez you have got to be kidding me!!! AA and TSA should NOT be involved in the lawsuit!! Only Corporate. And if the customers were lead to believe it was flown by AA Metal, they are blind, can they not read? Also the daughter may have not known but possibly, the paxs had known. I hope they get it figured out, im due to fly Corporate, American, AND Trans States to OKC  Big grin And I DO KNOW which is which.

Alex
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
 
TWFirst
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:32 pm

The argument isn't going to pass muster because the plaintiff will need to prove that AMR and Corporate deliberately misled the passengers in order to defraud them, and that because the passengers were defrauded or misled, they flew on the plane when they otherwise wouldn't have... I think that would be pretty hard to prove.

(edited for typo)

[Edited 2005-01-29 04:37:02]
An unexamined life isn't worth living.
 
moman
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:33 pm

Well in this day and age of litigation, I'm not surpised.

On the e-ticket receipt, it clearly says "Operated by American ___". Even the old TWA jets used to say "Operated by TWA" up until last Sept.

Flying in a pressurized metal tube is inherently dangerous. I wish there were tort reform to keep these kind of lawsuits from financially ruining companies. A limit of 1 million/pax in damages is more than enough, per occurence.

Moman
AA Platinum Member - American Airlines Forever
 
atrude777
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:43 pm

why dont we ask those two who survived and ask if they knew they were NOT flying with American Airlines metal tubes...

Alex
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
 
northwestair
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:53 pm

Most likely it stated on the side of the A/C operated by Coperate Airlines. It's like Northwest Airlink and then right below that it states Operated by Mesaba. Also it states on your itinerary Operated by xyz airline
I don't care who you fly just as long as you fly
 
thunder9
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:53 pm

ALso, when was the last time that AA metal served Kirksville, MO? This will likely never go to trial, but if it did, would a jury believe that the passenger (who can't testify, obviously) didn't realize that AA doesn't serve that tiny little airport? I don't think that the plaintiff(s) will be able to prove that AA was deceptive, especially where codeshares are nothing new these days...Heck, even WN has jumped on the bandwagon!  Smile

-J
"Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee." - William Kershner
 
2H4
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 1:11 pm

I wish there were tort reform to keep these kind of lawsuits from financially ruining companies.

Isn't Bush lobbying for something like this? As much as I dislike the man, I'd strongly support such an action. I strongly believe out-of-control litigation will be the death of our country.


2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
fourstripe
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 4:47 pm

I agree with the general train of thought here. This frivolous lawsuit should be illegal. Although it is a great tragedy when an aircraft goes down and loved ones are lost, I do feel that lawyers tend to take advantage of people's grief. I am sure that the airlines have done everything possible to help the loss with regard to the families of the pax on that corporate flight. This is just another attempt by a lawyer to suck as much money from a plaintiff as possible.

-fourstripe
“Aviation is proof that given, the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.” - Edward Vernon Rickenbacker
 
aa777jr
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 8:08 pm

Isn't Bush lobbying for something like this? As much as I dislike the man, I'd strongly support such an action. I strongly believe out-of-control litigation will be the death of our country.

Yes indeed, its from Senator Edwards raping health care providers for moneys.
A liberal is a man who is right most of the time, but he's right too soon.
 
srbmod
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 10:17 pm

Of these parties, the only one that should be sued is C3, since it was their a/c and their flight crew. Just because Corporate operates services for American doesn't mean that American shares any or the responsiblity or blame for an incident involving a contract carrier operating on behalf of AA. Trans State would only be a liable party if it was found during the course of the NTSB investigation that the actions of one of its' employees was a contributing factor in the crash (Which based on the preliminary NTSB report, appears to be unlikely.).

Now for the codeshare issue. I thought that it was now required to inform passengers at the time of booking if a flight was going to be operated by another airline. When you book online, they tell you if a flight is operated by another airline. And airline ads in the newspaper usually will have on the bottom of the ad (In fine print that people don't normally read anyway.) that certains flights may be operated by such and such airlines or by a codeshare partner.
 
gothamspotter
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:11 pm

Why Trans States was sued, I don't understand. The attorney claims they, too, are culpable, because Trans States provides ground handling for Corporate. Trans States said they do provide ground handling, such as passenger boarding, but not maintenance or training.

Since the final NTSB report on the crash has not yet been released, naming every possible at fault party as defendants is necessary.

I wish there were tort reform to keep these kind of lawsuits from financially ruining companies. A limit of 1 million/pax in damages is more than enough, per occurence.

Tort reform is necessary, but protecting airlines is a negligible reason for it. There are so few airline accidents these days, being an aviation disaster lawyer must be a pretty boring job. Airlines carry liability insurance on their aircraft, so the actual financial damage it does to the company is small. It might save them some money if they could get away with carrying less insurance, but it would still be expensive to cover terrorist acts and liability for damage and injuries on the ground.
 
kellmark
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sat Jan 29, 2005 11:15 pm

The way it works under US law is that code share parteners are generally liable for the actions of their partners. When passengers booked these flights, it was under the AMR umbrella, so to speak. AMR benefits from putting their logo on their partner's aircraft and getting the revenue that results from the increased market share of the code share. This is the downside of that.

When Thai lost an Airbus in Thailand, United was on the hook. When the Swiss MD11 went down Delta had some problems as some of their passengers were on it. This is also why code share partners do safety audits of their partners as well. To ensure that their operations are safe. But when something happens, they normally are all on the hook for it. Airlines are also aware of this issue and they have insurance for these occasions.
 
jmy007
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sun Jan 30, 2005 12:34 am

Correct me if I am wrong, But I thought airlines and the travel industry must tell the ticket holder who the flight is operated by, by law.

I know I certainly tell my clients if they are on code share or operated by flight.

Cookies are the Gateway pastry. They lead to Éclairs and Bear Claws.
 
moman
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:20 am

Gotham:

Sure, if AA/CC/etc loses this lawsuit, insurance will pay. Then the insurance companies will charge everyone more for insurance to cover their losses. Just because the whole amount doesn't directly come from AA's pocket doesn't mean AA doesn't indirectly pay for it.

Moman
AA Platinum Member - American Airlines Forever
 
milesrich
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:36 am

I am an attorney. I do not do personal injury cases, but something you all have missed here is the following:

The passenger who died, had a contract with American Airlines, or AMR, Inc., not with the commuter carrier operating the plane. Therefore, because of the privity between the dead person and American, American is the proper Defendant. There is reasonable belief that the other defendants may be liable as well, and it would be a waste of everyone's money to file separate lawsuits against the airframe manufacturer, the engine manufacturer, American, Corporate, and Trans States. I will admit that suing Trans States is a bit less of a sure thing, but one thing is for sure, one or more of the Defendants is liable to the Plaintiff, unless the Plaintiff somehow caused the aircraft to crash, ala Mohammed Atta, and that is not the case here. Everyone hates lawyers until they need one. And unfortunately, when someone dies in a plane crash, the carrier's insurance companies often make low ball offers to the victim's families. I hope none of you ever need to file a law suit as this person's family did, but if you or one of your loved ones, especially one who provides you with financial support is killed in a plane crash, you will need a lawyer. We all are not vultures.
 
bennett123
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:50 am


Has the NTSB determined the cause of the crash?.

This all seems somewhat premature.
 
kellmark
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:19 am

Under US Law, the finding of probable cause by the NTSB is not allowed to be used in a civil court case. The plaintiff must prove the case independently, although they normally use much of the same evidence. This is so the NTSB cannot be pressured by the effect of their findings on lawsuits.
 
pilotpip
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:41 am

Qqflyboy,

Did the article mention if the suit was filed in Missouri or Federal court? The reason that I ask this because it will likely be dissmissed by the state court on the grounds that the carrier was engaged in interstate commerce, which is governed by federal law. You may say, "Kirksville and St. Louis are both in Missouri", which is correct. This really doesn't apply though becuase as Milesrich pointed out the contract was with American Airlines.

And as also mentioned, anybody who could have possibly touched that aircraft is probably named in the suit. I wouldn't be surprised if Allied is named because they fueled the aircraft.
DMI
 
bennett123
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:50 am


IMO this is still premature.

Surely the CAUSE of the crash is relevant. My understanding is that the cause has yet to be determined.
 
2H4
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Mon Jan 31, 2005 11:55 am

Everyone hates lawyers until they need one.


Too often, though, people need lawyers simply to protect themselves from other lawyers. The irresponsible, ambulance-chaser types propel a viscous circle and (directly or indirectly) drive insurance costs up for everyone.


2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
WeAreUnited
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Mon Jan 31, 2005 12:01 pm

Regarding "Operated By" I have never had a res agent tell me that a flight was operated by a 3rd party.*

It's a law. If you had a RES agent not tell you the flight was American Eagle, United Express, Delta Connection.... s/he was not doing what they are REQUIRED to do.
 
elwood64151
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Mon Jan 31, 2005 12:20 pm

All good attorney will sue every possible plaintiff who has a lot of money

Shouldn't that be "defendant?" Usually the plaintiff is the one who's filing the lawsuit...

It's far from unheard of for negligent ground handling (and I'm talking normal ground handling, not MX) to wind up causing a bird to come down

RE: ValuJet 592 and SABRETech, and AMR Corporation (later sold).

This will likely never go to trial, but if it did, would a jury believe that the passenger (who can't testify, obviously) didn't realize that AA doesn't serve that tiny little airport?

You're kidding, right? Most people I know wouldn't know the difference between an UA bird and a US bird. I've heard people call a DC-9 a 767, or an ATR a L-1011. A jury is supposed to know that AA does not, itself, fly to Kirksville? Gimme a break!

Airlines carry liability insurance on their aircraft, so the actual financial damage it does to the company is small

Perhaps, but it might help to explain why I can't afford health insurance...

Milesrich:

Your point is well taken. I do see that AMR might be somewhat culpable, especially if C3 had a history of problems that AMR ignored. However, AMR is less guilty of any wrongdoing that might have occured compared to C3. TransStates is only culpable if something they did caused the accident. Same with the a/c mfr and engine mfr. If the cause of the accident was, say, weather, then the defendants should be entirely off the hook, unless C3 dispatch put the aircraft in the sky knowing that it was dangerous (and I mean DANGEROUS, not risky) to do so.

Some measure compensation is justified. The question is, how much? Unless someone was negligent or just plain stupid, I'd say not that much (of course, in this case, $75,000 would be "not that much").



Just my opinion, but the only reason anyone is getting sued is because AA has deep pockets (even as they lose money). The lawyer is suing anyone that might be culpable and is letting the jury sort it out. While I understand the reasoning for not having lawyers who lose pay for frivilous cases, I think the defendants proved innocent should have the option of counter-suing to recover damages from the fivilous case... But that's a discussion for a political/legal message board.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
kellmark
Posts: 543
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:04 pm

Good points by several of you. Yes, the attorney should sue every possible defendant, not plaintiff.

These lawsuits are usually filed in state courts due to the fact that the state law of negligence is normally what is applied. Also, the discovery process is generally more liberal (favorable to plaintiffs) in the state courts than federal courts, and generally speaking, jury awards are generally greater and therefore more favorable for the plaintiff. As long as the airline has contacts with the state that the suit is filed in, then there is jurisdiction.

Ultimately, however, as there are usually a number of lawsuits filed in multiple jurisdictions and venues, they are usually consolidated into a federal court, but they continue to apply state law.

Regarding the lack of knowledge of a jury of aviation, there are many experts usually involved in these actions, and as the trial goes on, the attorneys and experts will get their points across.

Lawsuits tend to be filed fairly early for several reasons. Attorneys who file first hope that this will attract other possible plaintiffs to their firm. Also, it gets the process going as far as possible settlements. And it ensures that the statute of limitations is met, so that the lawsuit is legally filed.

It is true that these situations can be very expensive for airlines. But if people are killed or injured, then it is serious as well. For example, a spouse who has lost their spouse or children. They also may have lost all of their income.

Keep in mind as well, that it is not a slam dunk for the plaintiff by any means. These lawsuits typically take many years. Airlines and their insurance companies will delay as much as possible. Also, if a company goes into bankruptcy, as many do these days, then all of these lawsuits are stayed, and there may be no recovery for the plaintiffs at all.
 
tekelberry
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Mon Jan 31, 2005 4:03 pm

Too often, though, people need lawyers simply to protect themselves from other lawyers. The irresponsible, ambulance-chaser types propel a viscous circle and (directly or indirectly) drive insurance costs up for everyone.

Saying that lawsuits are rising the cost of insurance is just giving into what the insurance companies want you to believe. If lawsuits were hurting insurance companies so terribly, they wouldn't be paying their CEOs an average of $3 million per year. Tort reform is just a way for insurance companies to make more money than they already are and, most importantly, to limit liability when something goes wrong which in the end hurts the consumer. Living with tort reform is like living in a world where people can take no or limited liability for their mistakes.
 
bennett123
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:47 pm

IMHO it merely changes it to a situation where customers expect a guarantee that the sun will shine.

Tort should be about negligance not bad luck.

Once the NTSB complete at least a prelimary investigation, the picture will become clearer.
 
ultrapig
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RE: A Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Tue Feb 01, 2005 1:05 am

Miles right is correct. I am an attorney. I don't do PI. But the same people who will rail about PI suits will call me three Weeks later for a reference to a PI attorney for their mother in law.

Under longstanding common law (originating in our English heritage) customers of a common carrier are entitle to the "highest degree of care" . That's not to say the Plaintiff doesn't have to prove negligence-but the standard is different.

I've asked my PI attorney friends to answer this scenario-Suppose I had a relative in a plane crash and I wrote the plane maker, engine maker, airline etc. This letter

"Dear Potential Defendants:

My relative was on Flight 666. She die. She was a 46 year old professional earning $100k a year. She had two children and attached is her professional resume. I have researched the last plane crash case and from what I can see plaintiffs for such a decedent received between $xm and $ym. Obvioulsy a significant percentage of this amount went to attorney fees for the plaintiff. The defendant also incurred attorney fees. Before I hire a=n attorney on a contingent basis I offer to settle for the lower of the to amounts set above. I realize that it is not clear which of you have liability but I suggest you pay the sum demanded and arbitrate who will bear the cost."

Sounds reasonable doesn't it? The victim's family gets paid right away instead of in 5 years-the attorney don't get rich.

My PI friends told me I was full of it. The insurance carriers will drag the suits out as long as possible because in p most cases the DO not owe interest and although they have to reserve the amount they don't have to pay
 
qqflyboy
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:26 am

It's far from unheard of for negligent ground handling (and I'm talking normal ground handling, not MX) to wind up causing a bird to come down

RE: ValuJet 592 and SABRETech, and AMR Corporation (later sold).


Maybe I am misunderstanding this statement, but it appears Elwood thinks AMR had some responsibility in the Valujet crash.

SabreTech and SABRE are two different companies, providing two different services. SabreTech was a maintenance provider owned by parent company Sabreliner Corp. SABRE, as in AMR's SABRE, is a computer reservations system AMR sold a few years ago.

It has been interesting reading the different replies. While I fully understand it is wise to sue all involved parties for the best financial compensation, does AA hold any real culpability? I understand the investigation is still ongoing and that we really don't know the answer to that question. But it seems in the normal course of operations AA would not have had any involvement in the operation of that flight, other than coordinating schedules with Corporate and providing passenger feed. Granted, there is probably revenue sharing on those flights, so does that make AA a culpable party?
The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.
 
thunder9
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RE: AA Sued Over Crash In Kirksville

Tue Feb 01, 2005 10:24 am

My biggest concern about this whole situation is this...

Why, when an accident occurs, does most everyone feel entitled to sue for ungodly amounts of $$ (usually knowing that they'll settle for much less). Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned life insurance?

I don't buy into the excuse that "it's too expensive" or some other story like that. I have plenty of life insurance, at a reasonable cost. I have enough for my wife to pay off our house, car, & the credit cards, and there is about 2-1/2 years of my recent average salary above that. So, if I were to keel over tonight, the Mrs would be well taken care of, and the remainder of my daughter's college education will be covered as well. Apparently, many people don't care to pay for adequate life insurance on themselves, and would rather hope for a large legal settlement if they happen to be involved in an accident.

We all know that something terrible can happen to any of us at anytime. So why is it that most people want to make the most *financially* from these tragedies?

-J
"Keep thy airspeed up, less the earth come from below and smite thee." - William Kershner