Lawsuit by 2 plane crash survivors vs Star Marianas Air, others dismissed


The federal court dismissed Wednesday with prejudice a lawsuit filed by two survivors of a fatal plane crash on Tinian in 2013 after the parties in the case have reached a settlement deal.

Dismiss with prejudice means survivors Pengliang Cai and Lei Wang can no longer re-file their lawsuit against Star Marianas Air Inc. and other co-defendants.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona said pursuant to the stipulation of the remaining parties in the case to dismiss this action, this matter is dismissed with prejudice as to all parties.

Manglona said the court shall retain jurisdiction over the matter to enforce the terms of the settlement agreements between the parties.

The judge said each party shall bear their own attorneys’ fees and court costs.

Manglona directed the court’s clerk to close the case.

The parties have asked the court to dismiss the case after Manglona gave them until last Monday to either voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit or explain to the court why it should not dismiss the case.

Manglona noted that the parties had requested several requests to postpone the proceedings since the lawsuit was filed in 2015.

The parties did not disclose the terms of the settlement deal.

Last October, the parties requested the court to give them more time as they are finalizing a settlement agreement.

John K. Courtney, is counsel for survivors Pengliang Cai and Lei Wang. Timothy H. Bellas is counsel for Star Marianas Air and co-defendants.

Courtney and Bellas then disclosed that their efforts at reaching a final settlement deal have been ongoing with one another and with their respective clients.

On Oct. 6, 2013, a Star Marianas flight took off from Tinian and crashed before reaching Saipan, killing the pilot and two passengers, and injuring four passengers.

Xiaolei Zhang, a Chinese national, lost her life in the crash. Cai, who is the husband of Zhang, survived the crash along with another passenger, Lei Wang.

Cai also sued on behalf of his deceased wife against the defendants.

Cai and Wang sued Star Marianas Air and its then-operator, Tinian Transportation Management Solutions Inc., travel agency Top Development Inc., and the deceased pilot.

The plaintiffs sued the defendants for negligence, wrongful death, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and strict liability. They asked the court to hold the defendants liable to pay them damages.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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