5191 Victims' Families Can Seek Punitive Damages

A major ruling involving the 2006 crash of Comair Flight 5191.

A federal judge ruled that the families of the Comair crash victims can punish the airline that trained and supervised the pilots who took Flight 5191 down the wrong runway.

The "Lexington Herald-Leader" reports that the attorney representing some of the families calls the ruling a major legal victory.

U.S. District Judge Karl Forester ruled that the families of the Comair victims can go after the airline for punitive damages in a trial set for August 4th.

It means the attorney's for the families can present evidence to the jury accusing Comair of not doing enough through training and its policies to keep the pilots from taking off on the wrong runway. Flight 5191 crashed on August 27th, 2006, after going down a much too short, dark runway. Pilot Jeff Clay and 48 other people on the plane were killed. the lone survivor, first officer, James Polehinke, was at the controls when 5191 lifted off.

The National Transportation Safety Board has ruled pilot error was the main reason for the crash. The "Courier Journal" quotes an attorney for the families, David Royse, as saying the ruling "provides an opportunity for the community to send a message about the conduct in this case."

Comair has admitted its pilots made mistakes, but claims it should not be subject to punitive damages because the airline did not authorize their actions.

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