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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  • by RS Location: Lexington on Jun 10, 2008 at 11:37 PM
    The person who is most to blame is the only survivor, the co-pilot. Not that he hasn't suffered, too, and he's going to lose whatever he has left in these lawsuits.
  • by Al Location: London on Jun 10, 2008 at 08:56 AM
    To Denise: I agree that no amount of money will bring anyone back, but what do you think would be justice? Have the CEO and the flight trainers and everyone that was found to be negligent in the case, go to the homes of the families and do yard work or sit and hold the little ones when they cry and ask why Mom, Dad, Sister or Brother not here? No! I think they would rather pay.
  • by Dean Location: Floyd County on Jun 10, 2008 at 06:50 AM
    Let's place plain where it actually should be. The true responsible party is whomever own the tower and did not have enough employees there to do the job safely just so they could make another dollar for themselves. Anytime there's construction going on there should be additional employees on duty to make sure everything is closely monitored so that crashes will not happen. How could the pilots be held even remotely responsible when it is obviously the fault of the tower?
  • by Denise Location: Lexington on Jun 10, 2008 at 05:10 AM
    My heart goes out to the victims of flight 5191 but I have to ask: Why is it always about money? Will this make everything better? Does money erase the errors made?

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