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More than 20 civil suits to be filed here against SIA

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More than 20 civil suits to be filed here against SIA

Old 30th Oct 2002, 11:50
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More than 20 civil suits to be filed here against SIA

Hi folks,

Got this in the mail this morning.



More than 20 civil suits to be filed here against SIA

Survivors and next of kin feel compensation offered by SIA is insufficient and are filing suits to get higher sums before deadline
By Li-Ann Wee
Singapore Straits Times

MORE than two dozen survivors and next of kin of the SQ 006 disaster are seeking higher compensation in the High Court from Singapore Airlines (SIA).

The deadline for filing these civil suits is tomorrow - the tragedy's second anniversary.

Under the Warsaw Convention, which applies to international air passengers, compensation for accidents can be sought in the country the flight departed from, where the tickets were bought or where the airline's main place of business is.

Singapore aviation lawyer Rajaram Ramiah of Wee, Ramayah and Partners confirmed yesterday that four United States law firms representing SQ 006 victims have instructed him to file 21 civil suits against the carrier by Thursday.

Eighty-three of the 179 passengers and crew on board the Los-Angeles-bound flight were killed when the Boeing 747 rammed into construction equipment at Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek Airport while trying to take off from a closed runway during a storm on Oct 31, 2000.

Many SQ 006 victims, said Mr Ramiah, felt that the airline's offers of compensation of US$400,000 (S$710,400) to next of kin and US$20,000 to survivors were 'insufficient'.

One of Mr Ramiah's clients is Major Ang Ming Chuan, 40, a former army officer who suffered 25 per cent burns and lung damage in the accident.

Mr Ramiah said: 'Not all of those filing here are Singaporeans. Some are Americans or other nationals who couldn't file in the US because they either reside here or bought their tickets here.'

At least one other Singapore law firm, Low and Robert Yu, has confirmed it will also be filing civil suits against SIA.

But when contacted, Mr Robert Yu declined to discuss any details.

According to American firm Nolan Law Group, the majority of lawsuits against SIA have already been filed in the US.

The group's director of litigation support, Mr Thomas Ellis, told The
Straits Times that there are in total about 100 suits against the airline, Boeing and other parties involved in the crash.

The Chicago-based firm is also representing 14 cases of cabin crew who survived or their next of kin. Four of the 17 cabin crew serving on SQ 006 that night were killed.

Mr Ellis said: 'As the Warsaw Convention doesn't apply to airline crew, these cases will probably be heard in the US. But SIA is trying to get them heard elsewhere, saying that the US is not a convenient location for them.'

A Nolan aviation attorney, Mr Floyd Wisner, who left Singapore yesterday,confirmed that the suits against Boeing and other aircraft parts manufacturers will also be heard in the US.

When contacted yesterday, SIA's vice-president for public affairs, Mr Rick Clements, said the airline could not comment about the suits or other compensation-related issues to do with the Taipei crash.
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