Mon, Mar 30, 2009
Cessna Willing To Submit To Italian Jurisdiction
A Florida federal judge's dismissal of lawsuits filed by the
families of 69 people lost in a 2001 runway incursion in Italy was
upheld last week by a federal appeals court, which ruled the case
was better suited to be decided by Italian courts.
On a foggy morning in October, 2001, a Cessna Aircraft Company
jet and a Scandinavian Airlines System airliner collided at Milan's
Linate airport, killing 118 people. Lawsuits brought against Cessna
by relatives of 69 persons lost in the accident were dismissed by
the Miami judge, who ruled that US courts weren't the proper forum
to hear the case.
The Associated Press reports that the plaintiffs included 21
Swedes, 19 Italians, 19 Danes, four Finns, three Norwegians, a
Romanian and a Briton, suing under bilateral treaties between their
respective countries and the US.
A panel of three judges of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals
agreed with the previous ruling last Friday, basing its decision on
the availability of a more suitable forum to try the case in Italy,
where the incident happened. Also cited was the greater
availability of evidence and witnesses in Italy, and Cessna's
willingness to submit to Italian jurisdiction.
The panel did not address the claims of the lawsuits, which
maintained that Cessna was at fault for failing to adequately train
its company pilots for low-visibility operations. The Cessna pilots
were conducting a demonstration flight for a customer when the
collision occurred. Contributing to the tragedy was an inoperative
radar system at the airport.
Lawsuits were brought against eight other persons involved in
the incident in 2004 and 2005 in Italy. The accused were convicted
on charges that included manslaughter and negligence, and sentenced
to prison terms of up to eight years.
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