Family settles final federal Flight 3407 suit

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The final Flight 3407 lawsuit in federal court reached a settlement Wednesday morning, avoiding a trial in May.

Ping Wang of Amherst brought the wrongful death lawsuit to federal court after losing her husband “Larry” Zhaofang Guo in the crash in Clarence Center five years ago.

Larry was on Flight 3407 as a connecting flight on his trip home from China. Because he was an international passenger, he was not eligible for punitive damages. Wang has a 21-year-old son who is in college. Their compensation is for the loss of nurturing, guidance and intellectual and moral training for their child.

Their attorney, Terry Connors, said, “They’ll never have closure. The trauma and the loss they sustained is something that is with them, even five years later.”

Ping, according Connors, is “a brilliant researcher at Roswell Park” who ironically was sworn in as a naturalized United States citizen from China in 2001 by Judge William Skretny, who was overseeing the proceeding Wednesday. Larry was a computer specialist at the Ford Stamping Plant in Woodlawn.

Colleagues remember him as a highly competent worker who always had a smile on his face. His obituary is still posted in the coffee room.

“Real friendly, always smiling. He started your day out good just talking to him because the guy was always happy-go-lucky,” said co-worker Joseph Tilert.

The crash in Clarence in February 2009 claimed 50 lives. National Transportation safety investigators believe the cause was pilot error. Attorneys for former Colgan and Pinnacle Airlines and Continental told News 4 they were “pleased” that the federal lawsuits were “resolved.”

“It’s a wrongful death cause of action brought on the basis of claims of negligence,” Connors said.

Though the amount of the settlement was not disclosed, Connors said, “We have secured the financial future for Ping and her son, Kevin.”

Three families still have lawsuits pending in State Supreme Court. All of the other Flight 3407 cases have been settled.

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