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More Families Sue for Charlotte US Airways / Air Midwest Crash


More Families Sue Airlines, Maintenance Companies, and Plane Maker in Charlotte US Airways / Air Midwest Crash

Remaining cases consolidated into MDL with first status conference set for May

Charlotte, North Carolina, April 7, 2004 -- The families of two victims killed in the US Airways Express crash of a Beech 1900-D at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport on January 8, 2003 have sued eight defendants in North Carolina federal district court in Charlotte: Mesa Air Group Inc.; Air Midwest, Inc.; US Airways Group, Inc.; L-3 Communications AeroTech, fka Vertex Aerospace, and Raytheon Aerospace; Structural Modification and Repair Technicians, Inc., Piedmont Aviation, Inc., Raytheon Company and Raytheon Aircraft Company.

The complaints filed today allege that the aircraft was improperly loaded and experienced acute problems with the aircraft’s flight controls, including the horizontal stabilizer due to, but not limited to, a disastrously rigged elevator system and defective maintenance, causing the crash that killed 21 people.

Keith Coyner, who was killed in the crash, is survived by his wife, Belinda, of Florida, and three children. Keith was the Vice President of Product Development for GNC’s parent company, Royal Nunico. Mrs. Coyner is available for comment.

Christiana Shepherd is survived by her parents Doug and Tereasa Shepherd of Pennsylvania, and four siblings. Christiana was a freshman at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. She was an Interior Design major and was returning to school after visiting her parents during Christmas break when the plane crashed.

The families are seeking damages for negligence, wrongful death, breach of contract, and punitive damages. The clients are represented by aviation attorneys Ronald L. M. Goldman and John Greaves of Baum Hedlund (aviation disaster law firm in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.).

“Airline passengers will continue to die unless the FAA, sometimes known as the Tombstone Agency, does it’s most important job of actually enforcing airline safety. Aircraft maintenance, outsourced and otherwise, must have oversight regardless of where it is done,” said attorney Ronald Goldman.

These cases will be consolidated with the multidistrict litigation (MDL #1558) presided by the Honorable Graham C. Mullen, Chief United States District Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte Division.

All remaining wrongful death cases filed anywhere in the U.S. as a result of this accident will be transferred and consolidated by the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation under Judge Mullen.

Liability discovery has been stayed until the first status conference set for May 20. We expect this stay to be lifted at the status conference. In the meantime, attorneys have been carrying out their own investigations for the past year along with the NTSB. Mrs. Coyner attended the recent NTSB board meeting with her attorneys from Baum Hedlund.

Baum Hedlund has an 18-year aviation history of having litigated more than 60 commercial aviation crashes including serving on the plaintiffs’ steering committee and trial team for the consolidated cases resulting from the 1994 Charlotte crash of US Airways Flight 1016.

Ron Goldman is a pilot and former Adjunct Aviation Accident Law Professor and Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate. John Greaves is an airline transport pilot and former captain of a national airline. Baum Hedlund has represented hundreds of clients in airline disasters since 1985, most recently, the September 11, 2001 Tort Litigation, the American Airlines 587 Crash in Belle Harbor (Queens), New York, 2001, the Singapore Airlines Crash in Taipei, Taiwan, 2000 and the crash of Alaska Airlines, Flight 261, near Pt. Mugu, California, 2000.


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