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LEGAL HISTORY COULD BE MADE THIS WEEK, COUNSEL SAYS; JURY TO CONSIDER PUNITIVE DAMAGES LIABILITY IN USAIR TRIAL

 WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Speiser, Krause & Madole, P.C., issued the following:
 This morning an Ohio federal court jury retired to consider whether USAir is liable to pay punitive damages on behalf of the victims of a 1992 airline disaster at La Guardia Airport. Punitive damages verdicts have been returned only twice before in the history of major airline disasters, but were not upheld on appeal.
 Said Gerard Lear, resident partner with Speiser, Krause, Madole & Lear of Washington, and a member of the plaintiff's trial team: "The jury has to decide two questions: 1) Was the conduct of USAir's superior officers WANTON AND RECKLESS with regard to the passengers' safety and 2) if yes, then should the plaintiffs be awarded punitive damages? In other words, should USAir have been aware of hardwing aircraft's history of icing problems and should they have made the effort to change to Type II de-icing fluid which lasts longer than the Type I deicing fluid they were using?
 "We are arguing that this goes beyond simple negligence," said Lear. "That has already been decided and compensatory damages will be awarded to the victims of the disaster accordingly. What we are saying is that USAir was reckless and that calls for punitive damages. This is what is significant about this trial."
 Speiser, Krause & Madole, the largest and oldest lawyer-pilot firm in the country, has eight of the plaintiff cases. Lear, resident partner of the firm's Washington office and Kenneth Nolan, partner in the firm's New York City office, are handling the cases and are available for comment. They can be reached at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cleveland at 216-623-1300, or through their offices in Washington, 202-223-8501, and Now York City, 212-661-0011.
 USAIR 405/LAGUARDIA AIR DISASTER TRIAL
 FACTS OF THE CASE
 Killed or injured in the major airline disaster that happened March 22, 1992 at New York's La Guardia Airport were 51 passengers including many Ohio residents. The crash was caused by ice and snow on the wings of the aircraft, a Fokker-28, resulting in an aerodynamic stall and loss of control on take-off.
 The trial, presided over by Chief Judge Thomas D. Lambros of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, focused on the issues surrounding the failure of the defendant, USAir, to provide the flight crew with appropriate information, procedures and requirements relating to take-off in a hardwing aircraft in ice and snow.
 Speiser, Krause & Madole, P.C. is handling eight of the plaintiffs' cases. The firm is the oldest and largest lawyer-pilot firm in the country. Founded more than 40 years ago, it has included many major aviation and mass disaster litigation cases in its history. Among others, the firm is handling cases arising from the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988 and the Soviet shoot-down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 in 1983.
 Gerard R. Lear, resident partner of Speiser, Krause, Madole & Lear, Washington, and Kenneth P. Nolan, partner with Speiser, Krause, Madole & Nolan, New York City, are members of the plaintiffs' trial team. They are available for comment and can be reached at 216-623-1300, ext. 834 (Ritz Carlton Hotel, Cleveland).
 -0- 1/12/94
 /CONTACT: Maggie Lyons of Speiser, Krause & Madole, 202-223-8501 (daytime), 800-683-8303 (daytime), or 703-768-1869 (evening)/
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CO: Speiser, Krause & Madole, P.C.; USAir ST: District of Columbia IN: AIR SU:

KD-KW -- DC011 -- 1428 01/12/94 12:32 EST
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Date:Jan 12, 1994
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