Two more families settle suits in Flight 3407 crash - The Buffalo News

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Two more families settle suits in Flight 3407 crash

The families in two of the last three legal cases stemming from the 2009 fatal crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 in Clarence Center have agreed to settlements, their attorneys confirmed Friday.

The attorneys for the families of passengers Jerome Krasuski and Kevin W. Johnston said the terms of the settlements are confidential.

As a result of the settlements, only one legal case remains for trial Aug. 11 before State Supreme Court Justice Frederick J. Marshall.

That case involves lawsuits by the family of Douglas C. Wielinski, who died when the plane crashed into his home Feb. 12, 2009.

One of the suits seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the wrongful death of the 61-year-old Wielinski, while the others seek compensatory and punitive damages for his wife, Karen, and their daughters, Jill Hohl and Kimberly Lipiarz.

The crash, which federal investigators blamed on pilot error, killed all 49 people aboard the plane.

The lawsuits were originally filed against Colgan Air; Pinnacle Airlines, Colgan’s parent company; Continental Airlines, which contracted with Colgan; and FlightSafety International, a flight school based at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, which trained the pilot, Marvin D. Renslow, and co-pilot, Rebecca L. Shaw.

FlightSafety International, like The Buffalo News, is a Berkshire Hathaway company.

FlightSafety was recently dropped as a defendant in the suits as a result of stipulation among all the parties, according to Philipp L. Rimmler, attorney for the Wielinski family.

“Based on what was learned in discovery, it would be difficult to make a case against them,” Rimmler said.

James Scime, attorney for the Krasuski family, said his clients agreed to the settlement earlier this month.

“I think Mrs. Krasuski felt she had accomplished all she could reasonably expect to accomplish with the lawsuit,” he said. “The time was right for her and her family.”

Jerome Krasuski, 53, of Cheektowaga, an engineer and program manager for Northrop Grumman Amherst Systems, a defense contractor in Williamsville, was returning home from a one-day business trip.

Terrence M. Connors, attorney for the Johnston family, said his clients resolved their litigation with the airlines Wednesday afternoon “after a series of settlement conferences that occurred as we drew closer to jury selection.”

“It was a difficult and emotional decision for this remarkable family,” he said. “It was a privilege to represent them and insure financial security for several generations of their family.”

He cited the efforts of the families of Flight 3407 victims in lobbying successfully for reforms and improvements in airline safety.

Johnston, 52, of Amherst, the director of safety, health and environment at Henkel Corp. – North America, was returning home after traveling on business.

More than 40 crash-related lawsuits also were filed in Buffalo federal court. The last of the eight remaining federal suits were settled in April.


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