Newsday - March 30, 2000

              Families Can Sue for Damages

                      FAMILIES of the 230 victims of TWA Flight 800 will be able to
                      collect for pain, suffering, and other damages for which they might
                      otherwise not have qualified if the plane had crashed in international
                      waters, a federal appeals court affirmed yesterday. 

                      In a 2-1 decision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a
                      lower court's ruling on the matter, saying the July 17, 1996, crash
                      eight miles off Long Island occured in U.S. waters. That means the
                      Death on the High Seas Act, long considered an outdated law that
                      severely limits liability to the plane's owner and manufacturer, does
                      not apply. 

                      The decision noted that President Ronald Reagan in 1988 extended
                      the territorial sea of the United States from three miles to 12 miles
                      offshore. Circuit Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor dissented, saying the
                      panel seemed to be ignoring case law in an attempt to provide the
                      families with potentially more generous awards. 

                      Families of the victims are now suing TWA and Boeing, the plane's
                      manufacturer, and Hydro-Aire, the engine manufacturer, claiming
                      negligence in construction and maintenance. 

                      Steve Pounian, an attorney for Kreindler and Kreindler, which
                      represents 86 of the families, said families stand to possibly collect
                      for loss of companionship and care, as opposed to smaller amounts
                      they may have been eligible for under only "pecuniary damages. 

                      Boeing spokesman Russ Young said the ruling doesn't change the
                      company's defense. "We will continue preparing a vigorous defense
                      of the design, manufacture and operation of the 747," he said. 

                      Trials in the cases are expected to begin in the winter. 

                      –Lauren Terrazzano 

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