3407 families prepare for trial
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — After three years of courtrooms, Jennifer West said she was discouraged by Continental Airline’s lack of cooperation Wednesday.
"Continental, it was their name on the ticket, their paint on the plane and they're the ones giving us a hard time now," West said.
At a status hearing in federal court Wednesday, West and John and Marilyn Kausner listened on as they said attorneys for Continental Airlines worked to stall progress.
"The strategy of the defense, the airlines in this case, is to delay this, to wear us out," John Kausner said.
Following the hearing, attorney Hugh Russ, said progress has been made on several lawsuits heading into trial.
Russ, who represents five families, recently issued subpoenas for two former Continental CEOs, Larry Kellner and Gordon Bethune. On Wednesday, the airlines' attorney vowed to block his attempts.
"To date, Continental has resisted our efforts to subpoena those gentlemen and have them testify and we learned today that Continental will continue to fight that," Russ said.
Russ says testimony from both men is critical. According to Russ, prior to the crash of flight 3407, Kellner was made aware of complaints about Colgan Airlines, a regional operation run by Continental, and said Bethune was vocal about separate standards of safety for commercial and regional flights.
"The system was, I think, deliberately set up to create two different standards," Russ said.
Russ said 24 lawsuits resulting from the crash have been settled in federal and state supreme court.
He said he will continue to prepare for a trial that's likely to take place next year, a trial Kausner and others are more than ready for.
"I want them to do what they're supposed to do which is the trial and get it done," Kausner said.
Another status hearing is scheduled for May 30th.