Niagara Gazette

Local News

September 3, 2013

Disputed info allowed in Flight 3407 crash suits


Niagara Gazette — The deposition of FAA inspector and former pilot Christopher Monteleon similarly is expected to shed light on the safety culture at Colgan. Monteleon, who was assigned to the carrier, said he reported problems with Colgan's flight testing program for its Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s, the type of plane involved in the crash, in January 2008, a year before the fatal accident.

"Christopher Monteleon was a whistleblower ... who after the crash came out and said, 'I warned you something like this would happen,'" Russ said. "So we wanted to take his testimony to see what he knew and what he warned about."

Attorneys for Colgan and Pinnacle had sought a protective order to prevent the testimony, arguing it was unnecessary because the plaintiffs' lawyers already have spoken with more than two dozen Colgan and Pinnacle representatives and received more than 410,000 pages of documents.

Skretny, however, agreed with attorneys for the passengers' families, who said Monteleon may have information that is either new or fills gaps in other witnesses' testimony.

An attorney for the airlines was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

More than 40 lawsuits were filed in federal court following the crash. All but eight have been settled through mediation. Unresolved cases are scheduled for trial beginning March 4. An additional six cases are pending in state court.

The cases were largely stalled for 13 months by a bankruptcy filing by Pinnacle, which emerged from Chapter 11 on May 1 as a unit of Delta Air Lines. Colgan Air stopped flying in 2012.

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