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Celebrity plane crash leads to wrongful death suit

On December 9, 2012, fans around the world were shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Mexican singer Jenni Rivera and several other people in a private plane crash. The Learjet 25 had been chartered by Jenni Rivera Enterprises, and departed from Van Nuys, California, before going down in Mexico. Now, the families of four of the people killed in the incident have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the plane’s last owner, current owner and charter company in a Los Angeles County Supreme Court.

The plaintiffs in the wrongful death suit are requesting a trial by jury in hopes of being granted punitive damages for the untimely deaths of four individuals in Rivera’s traveling party. It is also suspected that a similar suit will be filed on behalf of the late singer in the future. Rivera’s own company, the plane’s past and current owners, and the charter company are identified as defendants in the suit, and they face several serious accusations.

First off, the plaintiffs claim that the plane was poorly maintained was not flight-worthy when the accident occurred. They add that during the 43 years the plane was in service it experienced several issues, including major damage to a wing, and was not inspected properly.

Beyond that, there are concerns over the performance and licensing of the aircraft pilot, who also died in the crash. According to the FAA, the pilot was not allowed to perform certain high-altitude flying techniques; nor was he authorized to pilot commercial flights in the U.S.

The defendants in the suit argue that the claims should be made in Mexico, but the plaintiffs point out that the charter company and current owner are licensed in California.

Source: billboard.com, “Jenni Rivera Crash Defendants Challenge Wrongful Death Lawsuits,” Judy Cantor-Navas, Aug. 23, 2013

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