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Lufthansa Flight School to Be Sued Over Germanwings Crash

A Lufthansa flight school in Arizona will face a multi-million dollar lawsuit over the crash of Germanwings plane in the French Alps last year. The families of passengers will take legal action against the German company in the United States after ruling the carrier’s compensation offer as inadequate.

The flight’s co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, who is thought to have intentionally crashed the plane on March 24, 2015, killing everyone on board, attended the flight school in 2008. According to German lawyer Christof Wellens, Lubitz interrupted his training in 2009 due to mental health issues.

“In our view, he should not have been able to receive his flight license after that,” Wellens said. Reports also revealed that Lubitz kept an existing medical condition from Lufthansa, which is the parent company of low-cost carrier Germanwings.

Brian Alexander, a New York lawyer representing some of the German victims, seeks to prove that because Lubitz was trained in the United States by Lufthansa, the crash is actually rooted in the U.S., which would allow the families to pursue their case in U.S. courts.

In an interview with GQ, Alexander says he “plans to argue that the roots of Lubitz’s act—and the long minutes of indescribable terror suffered by those aboard the flight—trace back to those four critical months that Lubitz spent under the airline’s supervision in America. Proving so would allow the victims to pursue their case in U.S. courts—and would eviscerate Lufthansa’s insistence that it, too, was a ‘victim’ of Lubitz’s crime.” He insists that Lubitz lied about his depression history and, even after he was found out, was still given clearance to continue his training.

“That notation on his certificate should have been a red flag,” Alexander told the magazine. He plans to file in Arizona this month and hopes that he can get access to Lubitz’s Lufthansa records, which the company has kept sealed since the crash.

Each of the victims could be entitled to up to 5 million dollars in compensation in the U.S., where damages are paid in much higher amounts than in Germany.

[Photo: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes]

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5 Comments
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weero March 19, 2016

Germanwings doesn't operate in the US. The Warsaw and the Montreal agreements cap the liabilities. Why would the opinion of a US court matter? The EU needs to finally show some strengths and unity against such misplaced grab for influence on behalf of some US authorities. Sure at this stage it is a just a lawyer talking big but if a US court appoints itself as arbiter over foreign affairs and politics doesn't stop it in the treads, the EU needs to learn how to mark its territory.

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ioto1902 March 8, 2016

http://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2016/03/06/fiumicino-pilota-scrive-alla-moglie-se-mi-lasci-faccio-cadere-laereo-bloccato-dalla-polizia/2522962/ "If you leave me, I'm crashing" message sent by an italian pilot before a commercial flight to Tokyo. The pilot was put on leave. Still convinced to give suicidal guys a chance ?!?

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ioto1902 March 8, 2016

A sixth of the population have suicidal thoughts ? Navylad, I don't know where these statistics come from, but, why not ? Only a slight percentage may act, and the vast majority is harmless. Good. But who's the desperate one ? Sorry, I refuse to play Russian roulette with my life. Go see the families of the Germanwings victims (now Eurowings, subsidiary of Lufthansa), and tell them you have to give suicidal guys a chance. There are many other occupations where these "risky" persons can harm nobody (except themselves).

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brocklee9000 March 8, 2016

Wow. Just...wow. Brian Alexander, the next Saul Goodman?

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navylad March 7, 2016

The idea that someone who has suffered with mental health should never be allowed to be a pilot is unbalanced; A sixth of the population have suicidal thoughts at some point in their life, this doesn't mean that they will go on to commit suicide, let alone in a form that harms others.