BUFFALO, N.Y (WKBW) After a delay of over one year, legal proceedings are once again underway for families who lost loved-ones in the crash of Continental Airlines Flight 3407 in February 2009.
One person on the ground and fifty people inside the twin-turboprop commuter plane died when the aircraft crashed into a home in Clarence Center, NY.
Investigators found pilot error caused the crash, and several wrongful death lawsuits were filed.
Pinnacle Airlines owned the plane and they were the parent company for Colgan Air which operated the aircraft for Continental Airlines as part of their connections program.
In April 2012, Pinnacle filed for bankruptcy and a mandatory 'stay' was put on pending lawsuits.
Pinnacle was since reorganized and is now a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.
A bankruptcy-court judge cleared the way for the lawsuits against Pinnacle to proceed.
Currently, there are twelve lawsuits pending in federal court, but attorneys say one is close to a settlement, and another involves property damage.
Ten wrongful death lawsuits will be handled in US District Court in Buffalo - five others are pending in State court.
Wednesday morning, Chief US District Judge William M. Skretny set a trial date of March 4, 2014.
He also ordered attorneys for both the plaintiffs and defendants to submit a plan to him by June 12th detailing a timetable for motions and discovery proceedings.
The judge advising all parties, that after the 13-month delay, he expects everyone "to stay on track."
The issue of who is liable for the punitive damages will have to be decided by the courts because Colgan Air stopped operating in September 2012, Pinnacle is now owned by Delta Air Lines, and Continental has since merged with United Airlines.