Attorney: Final San Francisco plane crash lawsuit settled
By SUDHIN THANAWALA
Sep. 22, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California dentist who was aboard an Asiana Airlines plane that crashed in San Francisco four years ago — killing three girls and injuring roughly 200 others — reached a settlement Thursday with the airline, ending what her attorney said was the last pending lawsuit in the U.S. stemming from the crash.
Ronald Goldman, an attorney for Kyung Rhan Rha, said the terms of the settlement were confidential. But he said Rha's case was the last to get resolved of the dozens of passenger and crew lawsuits that had been consolidated before a federal judge in California.
Rha and her daughter were among 291 passengers aboard Asiana Flight 214 from South Korea when it crashed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013.
U.S. safety investigators said the pilots bungled the landing approach by inadvertently deactivating the plane's key control for airspeed, among other errors. The plane slammed into a seawall at the end of a runway during final approach.
The impact ripped off the back of the aircraft and scattered pieces of the jet across the runway as it spun and skidded to a stop. Two teenage girls who investigators say appeared not to be wearing their seatbelts died. A third girl died when she was accidentally run over by a firefighter responding in a truck.
The 16-year girl was ejected from the plane and covered by flame-retardant foam when she was hit by the truck. The injured included two flight attendants who were thrown onto the runway.
More than 100 injured passengers sued and reached settlements with the airline. The family of the girl struck by a firetruck sued the city of San Francisco and also reached a settlement. Settlement details have remained confidential.
Rha's case was headed for trial, with opening statements scheduled for Monday. She sought monetary damages from Asiana Airlines for injuries she suffered in the crash that had left her unable to properly hold the tools she needs to work as a dentist specializing in replacing lost teeth, her attorneys said.
In her lawsuit, Rha said she and her daughter were "violently thrown" about the cabin, and suffered physical, "mental and emotional injuries." They also incurred hospital and rehabilitation costs.
Asiana claimed her injuries were not serious, according to a court filing by attorneys in the case.
Messages for an attorney representing Asiana were not immediately returned.
Rha's attorneys planned to call a doctor to testify that he continues to treat her for chronic pain, numbness, weakness, headaches, dizziness and loss of range of motion, according to a witness list for the trial. Rha was also expected to testify.
Her daughter, who was 14 at the time of the crash, reached a confidential settlement several months ago, Robin McCall, a spokeswoman for the law firm representing Rha said.