Xiaojie Ge, a representative of a plane passenger who was killed in a crash at the Francisco C. Ada-Saipan International Airport in 2012, has agreed to settle her lawsuit.
Xin Hong, another plane passenger who suffered serious injuries, also agreed to settle the matter, according to documents filed in federal court.
Both settlement amounts were not disclosed in court paper.
Ge represents Weilian Lu and Lu’s minor daughter, Y. Ge, in the lawsuit. Lu was the lone fatality in the crash that injured four other passengers and the pilot.
According to attorneys Mark B. Hanson and John K. Courtney, three other passengers—Xiuzhong Zhu, Meilin Zhou, and Xiaohua Zhou—are still in settlement negotiations.
Hanson and Courtney are counsels for all plaintiffs, who are Chinese nationals.
The lawyers updated the federal court last week on the status of settlement negotiations.
Hanson and Courtney said the settlement entered by Ge, on behalf of Lu and Lu’s daughter, is subject to the minor child’s compensation hearing with the U.S. District Court for the NMI.
As a result of the crash, Lu was dead on arrival at the hospital due to burns and other fatal injuries. Xin Hong suffered a fracture in the vertebra, requiring surgery. Meilin Zhou suffered a fractured right arm, burned chin, an injured right leg, and an injured hip. Xiaohua Zhou suffered third-degree burns on her face, a burned right arm, a fractured left arm, and an injured head causing memory loss. Xiuzhong Zhu suffered an injured forehead, a dislocated left arm, and a fractured back.
Hanson and Courtney said all plaintiffs continue to suffer from a myriad of physical and emotional injuries.
The plaintiffs sued pilot Jae Choi, Star Marianas Air Inc., Marianas Air Travel, Tinian Transportation Management Solutions Inc., Tianing Travel Agency, Century Tours, Top Development Inc., and 100 unnamed co-defendants, for negligence, wrongful death, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
In addition, the plaintiffs sued Star Marianas Air for fraud.
Last Jan. 6, the plaintiffs voluntarily dropped Century Tours from the lawsuit.
Last February, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona dismissed the Korean pilot Jae Choi and China-based Tianing Travel Agency from the lawsuit.
Manglona said because plaintiffs and defendants Choi and Tianing Travel Agency are non-diverse, the court will dismiss the two from the lawsuit to preserve the court’s diversity jurisdiction.
According to the complaint, pilot Choi crash landed on Nov. 19, 2012, an aircraft operated by Star Marianas Air into the trees north of the runway at the Saipan International Airport. All plaintiffs were aboard this flight except for the minor, Ge.
Hanson said the plane, a seven-passenger Piper PA-32 Cherokee Six, attempted to depart from the Saipan airport with the intended destination of Tinian.
Hanson said the flight was to shuttle six plaintiffs to the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino as part of a trip package put together by Tianing and Top Development.
While taking off at 6:20am, the plane allegedly lost power and nose-dived into the trees adjoining the north side of the runway, then a fire ensued.
Hanson said the crash and subsequent fire injured Choi and four of the passengers, and Lu was killed.
The lawyer noted that the aircraft was manufactured in 1969 and at the time of the crash had already accrued 6,805 hours of service.