Parents of Two Challenger Members Settle Claims With Morton Thiokol
HOUSTON (AP) _ Morton Thiokol Inc. has agreed to settle wrongful death claims lodged by the parents of two astronauts killed in the explosion of space shuttle Challenger, an attorney said Tuesday.
The amounts agreed on by the company and Sarah Resnik Belfer, mother of mission specialist Judith Resnik, and Bruce Jarvis, father of payload specialist Gregory Jarvis, are confidential, said attorney Ronald Krist.
He said the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is not contributing to the settlements.
″We filed a claim (against NASA) for Bruce Jarvis, but it’ll be resolved in this,″ Krist added.
Carson Turner, director of corporate communications at Morton Thiokol headquarters in Chicago, said when asked to confirm the settlements: ″We have no information on that in the company ... We don’t comment on lawsuits.″
The Challenger exploded Jan. 28, 1986, killing all seven crew members. The disaster was blamed primarily on the solid rocket booster assembled and manufactured by Morton Thiokol.
NASA and Thiokol shared the cost of settlements reached in December 1986 with Jarvis’ wife and survivors of Francis R. Scobee, Ellison Onizuka and New Hampshire teacher Christa McAuliffe.
Sources have said each family received more than $1 million.
Krist said he viewed the settlements this week as ″very favorably comparable″ with the original four.
Last May, Krist settled a lawsuit filed against Morton Thiokol by Challenger astronaut Ronald E. McNair’s widow, Cheryl.
NASA Deputy General Counsel Edward A. Frankle said the only suit by a family member pending against NASA is the $1.5 billion suit filed by Jane Smith, wife of Challenger pilot Michael J. Smith.
Asked whether any suits stemming from the accident remained against Thiokiol, Turner said, ″We don’t have any information on that.″