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Delta Air Lines Dismissed From Comair 5191 Lawsuits

Judge Says Airline Can't Be Held Liable For Actions Of Subsidiary

A federal judge dismissed Delta Air Lines this week from over 19 pending lawsuits related to the August 2006 takeoff crash of Comair Flight 5191 in Lexington, KY.

The Associated Press reports US District Judge Karl Forester ruled Tuesday no Delta employee should be held liable for the crash, which claimed 49 people onboard the CRJ-100 regional jet. Comair is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Atlanta-based airline, but maintains its own management and policies, and employs its own pilots.

Delta argued those distinctions made Comair a separate entity, responsible for its own actions. Forester agreed.

"In short, there is no allegation that any Delta employee failed to exercise reasonable care in the performance of his/her duty in any manner in respect to Flight No. 5191," Forester wrote in a 13-page opinion on the matter.

As ANN reported, the Comair CRJ attempted to takeoff from the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport early in the morning of August 27, 2006. The jet impacted off the end of 3,500-foot Runway 26 at LEX; it had been cleared for takeoff on Runway 22, which is 7,000 feet in length.

The only survivor in the crash was First Officer James Polehinke, who was also the flying pilot at the time of the crash. Polehinke is named as a defendant in several of the lawsuits, which will go to trial August 4.

Attorney David Royse, representing the plantiffs, told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Delta's dismissal won't affect the overall lawsuit. "Out of an abundance of caution, some plaintiffs had simply named Delta, Comair's parent company, as an additional defendant," Royse said.

Last week, Forester dropped Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen Sanderson from lawsuits claiming the chartmaker provided airport diagrams lacking detail on construction at LEX at the time of the crash.



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