According to The Buffalo News article, Mediators Aim to Settle Lawsuits Over Flight 3407, the U.S. District Court Judge handling the nearly three dozen lawsuits filed in the Western District of New York for the 50 deaths due to the recent crash appointed four attorneys to attempt mediation of the claims in an effort to avoid the time and expense that trial would entail.
Reactions to this development differed. Since discovery between parties has not begun, some plaintiffs complain that they cannot settle a matter without knowing exactly what happened. Others maintain that due to the carelessness of the Defendants, punitive damages are appropriate. Punitive damages are monies awarded to punish the negligent party or wrongdoer, and deter others from similar behaviors. Some of the defendants in this case are alleged to have allowed poorly trained, fatigued pilots fly their planes, contributing to the crash.
One of the primary defendants, Colgan Air, welcomed the direction that the judge took. Through a spokesman, Colgan said that it looked forward to engaging in mediation with plaintiffs, so that each family could receive fair and just compensation for their loss.
Other victims' families have filed suit in New York State court against the flight simulator training company which trained the pilots of Flight 3407. So far, they remain separate from the mediation process ordered by the judge.
The Judge's mediation order sets a schedule that requires mediation of the cases to be initiated by June 17. If this effort at mediation fails, the parties are not foreclosed from trying again at a later date, after discovery is complete and the parties have a better idea of who was careless or negligent and which defendants are more culpable than others.