2004-09-24 / Front Page

AA 587 Discovery Process To Reopen NTSB Hearing May Be Set For 11/10

By Howard Schwach

Both the investigation into the reasons for the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into Belle Harbor on November 12, 2001 and the legal cases of the families of those who died that day are progressing to some final, albeit controversial, closure.

In a hearing before Judge Robert Sweet in his courtroom at the Southern District for New York on September 15, attorneys for the families moved to reopen the liability discovery process for those who have not yet approved a settlement with Airbus Industries and American Airlines.

Attorney Blanca Rodriquez is the liaison for the law firm of Kreindler & Kreindler, the firm that chairs an attorney’s committee made up of the large number of attorneys who represent individual family members. All of the cases involving the crash of AA Flight 587 have been consolidated before Judge Sweet.

Rodriquez told The Wave late last week that settlement talks are still ongoing and that 198 of the 265 death cases have been settled.

“There are a number of people who are not happy with the results and want to go back to liability discovery,” Rodriquez said. “We expect to do that right after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issues its final report.”

Rodriquez says that she expects that final report to be held on November 10, although a spokesperson for the NTSB refused to confirm or deny that date. The NTSB has said in the past, however, that they expect to hold the final report prior to the third anniversary of the crash.

Rodriquez said that a number of family members have refused to settle with the Airbus-American Airlines committee because “the amount they were offered did not seem fair.”

Others, she said, do not want to settle “until they know with some certainty what caused the crash.”

“There are those who cannot fathom settling without knowing what happened,” she said.

A number of family members contacted in connection with this story refused to comment until the final NTSB report has been rendered.

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