Verdict due in lawsuit over 2011 CAL crash here

The plane after it ran off the runway

A US federal judge is considering whether Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) should pay damages to a Connecticut woman injured in a plane crash in Guyana in 2011.

According to the Associated Press, Judge Michael Shea in Hartford, Connecticut  presided over a three-day, nonjury trial earlier this month in a lawsuit by Waterbury resident Indrawatie Shiwbodh against Caribbean Airlines. The judge is expected to rule sometime after Feb. 9, when final briefs are due, the report said.

Shiwbodh, formerly of East Haven, was among 157 passengers and six crew members on a Boeing 737 that overshot the runway and broke in half at Cheddi Jagan International Airport on July 30, 2011. No one died, but dozens were hurt. The flight originated from JF Kennedy Airport in New York.

Investigators concluded that coordination between the captain and co-pilot broke down as the plane landed, and that the pilots failed to reduce excess power during landing and did not use the plane’s full deceleration capabilities, the report stated.

The airline has settled all other claims in lawsuits filed over the crash by more than 150 other passengers, including Shiwbodh’s husband and adult daughter, said John Maggio, a New York-based lawyer for CAL. Terms of the settlements are confidential and the airline has not admitted to any wrongdoing in the cases, he said.

Shiwbodh’s husband, Yadram, referred questions yesterday to the couple’s lawyers, who did not return phone and email messages, AP said.

Passengers on the plane have described how the landing initially seemed normal and there was applause that quickly turned to screams, with people and luggage being tossed about the cabin.

Documents in Indrawatie Shiwbodh’s court case say her head struck the seat in front of her, causing a cut to her forehead that required several stitches. While getting out of the wreck, she had to jump off a wing about 12 feet above the ground,  the documents say.

Shiwbodh also suffered “substantial” mental trauma as well as financial losses from being unable to work because of her injuries, her attorneys said. She said she has registered more than US$125,000 in medical expenses and lost more than US$130,000 in income, the report added.

Lawyers for the airline said in court documents that Shiwbodh’s damages should be limited to the head wound and other injuries caused by the crash, and not the wounds that occurred after she jumped off the wing.

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