Two of 17 lawsuits filed after the crash a Continental Airlines jetliner last year have been settled out of court, according to court documents filed by Friday's deadline.
Continental Flight 1713 crashed on takeoff during a snowstorm Nov. 15, 1987, killing 28 of the 82 people on board, and injuring 54.The 15 remaining lawsuits are scheduled to go to trial beginning Jan. 9.
Also Friday, U.S. District Judge Sherman G. Finesilver denied motions from the airline for dismissal of punitive damage claims, rejecting Continental's contention that various provisions of the Federal Aviation Act pre-empt traditional areas of state regulation. He also ruled that Texas law could be used to calculate damages, rather than Colorado law which more severely limits such damages. Continental's parent company, Texas Air, is based in Houston.
Details of the two settlements disclosed Friday, both of which involved passengers who survived but were seriously injured, were not released.
Initially, 36 lawsuits were filed but several have been settled out of court and several other new suits have been filed.
Lawyers for Continental say Denver airport officials are responsible for allowing snow and slush to build on the runway and that the Federal Aviation Administration allowed flights to continue throughout the snowstorm.
Continental also contends that the crash occurred because of swirling winds created by a jumbo jet that landed shortly before Flight 1713 took off.