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2 crash victims' kin settle USAir lawsuits

Post Gazette

By Matthew P. Smith

USAir and Boeing Co. have reached out-of-court settlements with the families of two passengers who died in the Sept. 8, crash of USAir Flight 427.

The settlements were announced yesterday by Pittsburgh lawyer Neil R. Rosen, who represented the families of Stephen Shortley, 37, of Ross, and Ronald Brown, 49, of Trafford.

Rosen declined to disclose the amounts of the settlements.

"Both the Brown and the Shortley families will receive very substantial statements that will provide lifelong economic security," he said.

Lawyers who specialize in aviation cases have said that previously that such settlements usually exceed $2.5 million.

Both families filed lawsuits in U.S. District Court last year after the Boeing 737-300 plunged into a ravine in Hopewell, killing all 127 passengers and five crew members.

Shortley had a masters degree in human resources was a consulting manager for Ernst and Young in its National Technology Consulting Practice. He was also a member of the Alcosan board. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Brown, a Westinghouse engineer, died three days before his 50th birthday.

Brown, who had remarried four months before the crash, is survived by his wife, two children, and one grandchild.

Rosen said he and the family members were appreciative that the cases were settled early.

The out-of-court settlements are believed to be the second and third to be reached since the crash.

Rosen said early settlements resulted in greater financial benefit for the victims' families, because they avoid lengthy litigation and permit a substantial reduction in legal fees and related costs.

USAir and Boeing are insured by Associated Aviation Underwriters of Short Hill, N.J. 

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