Athens Plane-Crash Suits Belong In Greece & Cyprus

     CHICAGO (CN) – Relatives of a passenger killed when a Boeing 737 failed to properly pressurize and crashed near Athens, Greece, should file their claims for damages in Greece or Cyprus, the 7th Circuit ruled.

     On Aug. 14, 2005, Helios Airways Flight 522 failed to properly pressurize after takeoff on a flight from Cyprus to Greece. The crew and passengers lost consciousness and asphyxiated, and the plane crashed near Athens when it ran out of fuel.
     The relatives and estate of Nicos Karakostas, a passenger killed in the crash, sued Boeing in Illinois Federal Court. They based their claims on an Accident Safety Board report, which found that crew members ignored three warnings that the aircraft was not pressurizing. The report also cited several secondary causes of the accident, including plane defects, poor management and inadequate oversight.
     Most of the wrongful death lawsuits against Boeing in the United States were dismissed, after a federal judge in Illinois agreed that courts in Cyprus and Greece were the appropriate venues.
     The representatives for Karakostas, however, reserved the right to challenge that dismissal on appeal.
     The appellate court upheld the lower court’s ruling, saying the judge had properly weighed all the relevant public and private interests against the plaintiffs’ first choice of venue.

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