LEXINGTON, Ky. — A federal judge has dismissed Delta Air Lines Inc. from more than 19 pending lawsuits involving a plane crash that killed 49 people two years ago.

U.S. District Judge Karl Forester said in a 13-page opinion Tuesday that no Delta employee could be held liable for the crash of Comair Flight 5191. Comair is a subsidiary of Delta, but Delta argued that each has separate management and policies, and employs its own pilots.

"In short, there is no allegation that any Delta employee failed to exercise reasonable care in the performance of his/her duty in any manner in respect to Flight No. 5191," Forester wrote.

Plaintiffs' lawyer David Royse told the Lexington Herald-Leader that the dismissal of Delta from the lawsuits won't affect an Aug. 4 trial on damages.

"Out of an abundance of caution, some plaintiffs had simply named Delta, Comair's parent company, as an additional defendant," Royse told the newspaper.

Comair spokeswoman Kate Marx said the ruling will have no bearing on her company's case.

The plane crashed shortly after taking off from the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport on Aug. 27, 2006, killing 49 of 50 people on board.

Messages left late Tuesday by The Associated Press at Royce's office, a Delta lawyer's office and on the cell phone of a Delta spokeswoman weren't immediately returned.