Settlement Reached in Final Flight 3407 Federal lawsuit

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The final federal lawsuit connected to the crash of Continental Flight 3407 that killed 50 people has now been settled.

Ping Wang of Amherst, who lost her husband Zhaofang Guo in the crash which was later blamed on pilot error, settled her lawsuit on Wednesday morning shortly before a scheduled hearing in U.S. District Court.

By agreement of all parties, the terms of the settlement are confidential.

Wang filed a wrongful death suit based on negligence, against regional carrier Colgan Air which operated the flight, its parent company Pinnacle Airlines, and Continental Airlines which had a sharing agreement with the regional carrier to provide oversight for the training and hiring of the crew, and the conduct of the flight, according to Wang's attorney Terrence Connors.

Connors said this particular case was more complicated than most, because Mr. Guo happened to be on the last leg of a flight home from his native China when the crash occurred.

"Even though this flight was a domestic flight, it was part of an overall international trip...making it subject to a treaty known as the Montreal Convention," Connors explained, referring to a 1999 agreement signed by more than 100 countries.

"The idea behind it, is that countries like the United States, and all the other countries that are a party to it, can work with each other to have a system of recovery that works for everyone," said co-counsel Paul Woodard.

However, Connors conceded that in some respects this limited the amount of damages available for his client to recover.

When Mr,. Guo died, besides his wife, he left behind a teenage son, now 21, and in college.

"There's no happiness ever derived from a situation like this, but you can have a certain amount of contentment knowing that we have secured the financial future for Ping Wang and her son Kevin," Connors said.

The Newark, New Jersey-to-Buffalo flight stalled and crashed into a house in Clarence in a February 2009.

Three lawsuits remain pending in connection with the crash, however those have been filed in NY State Supreme Court.

They involve the estates of two passengers, and the town of Clarence man who died when the plane crashed into his home.

Those cases, barring out of court settlements, are set for trial in August.


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