Comair Crash Case Headed Back to Federal Court

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Wrongful death lawsuits filed against Comair for last summer's deadly plane crash are headed back to federal court, and the case could soon include a defendant with extremely deep pockets.

Attorneys for Comair told a Fayette Circuit judge Thursday that by next week it will file the legal paperwork asking that the Federal Aviation Administration help pay monetary damages for the crash that killed 49 people.

As long as the federal government is part of the case, state court will have no jurisdiction and all future arguments will be heard before U.S. District Judge Karl Forester, who initially assigned it to state court in April.

It was largely an expected development, but lawyers representing several families who sued Comair for the loss of their loved ones said the airline was approaching the deadline to include the FAA. Thursday was the first time Comair announced its intentions in Circuit Court.

"They never committed to whether they really were going to do it," said Robert Ackerson, who is representing the estate of former Kentucky baseball player Jon Hooker and his newlywed, Scarlett Parsley Hooker, who were killed in the crash.

Comair contends the FAA should share blame because the FAA-run control tower was staffed with only one person the morning of the crash despite a directive there should be two. Also, the controller didn't broadcast to crews information about a construction project that altered the taxiway at Blue Grass Airport.

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