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Court Rules Taxpayers Responsible For 3407 Clean Up Costs

3:39 PM, Mar 6, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Court Rules Taxpayers Responsible For 3407 Clean Up Costs

Wreckage from Continental Flight 3407, February 2009

Buffalo, N.Y. - For the second time, a federal court has ruled that Erie County taxpayers must pay for all of the costs associated with the crash of Flight 3407 in Clarence in 2009.

Just over four years ago, John Kausner's 24 year old daughter Elly was flying home from law school to visit her family.

She never made it. Elly Kausner was one of the 50 people killed in the crash of Flight 3407.

The NTSB ruled that pilot training and fatigue were among the causes of the crash.

And so three years ago, the county sued, saying it spent $750,000 to clean up the site and pay for overtime for law enforcement and first responders.

The county's lawsuit charged that the actions by Colgan, Pinnacle and Continental Airlines caused "unprecedented a result of their wanton, reckless, negligent and willful conduct."

But a federal court ruled that under New York state law, counties and cities are responsible for costs associated with one-time catastrophic events, no matter who's at fault.

The county appealed, but on Monday, a second federal court upheld the ruling, saying the county could not recover the money it spent from Colgan or Continental.

John Kausner can't believe it, "I'm flabbergasted to say that someone can crash a plane into a house and say that the county can't recover the costs to fix the site and repair the roads and pay the overtime."

We contacted state senator Mike Ranzenhofer, who represents Clarence, and he says the law needs to be changed so that whoever is responsible for one time disasters should be responsible for the costs associated with it.

Scott Brown: "Is this something you'd be willing to introduce?"

State Senator Mike Ranzenhofer: "It would be. The decision has come down, we've not been contacted by the county for any assistance with this. but it's something I think I'm going to look into on my own to see whether or not this can be corrected and try to get that legislation introduced."

If Ranzenhofer is successful in getting the law changed, it would apply only to future events, and not Erie County's lawsuit.





















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