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Tue, Jan 01, 2008

Insurance Company Goes After Comair For Polehinke's Medical Expenses

Wants Refund For $1.1 Million In Bills For Sole Survivor Of LEX Accident

What price, survival? For the insurance company paying the bills for James Polehinke, the lone survivor of the August 2006 runway overrun crash of Comair flight 5191, the answer is $1.1 million so far... and they want their money back.

According to The Associated Press, the Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania filed documents in court last week asking for a refund for Polehinke's medical costs, should Comair win any of its countersuits involving the accident, in which the flight crew of the loaded CRJ-100 attempted to take off from the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, KY.

As ANN reported, Polehinke was the first officer on the doomed flight, as well as the flying pilot at the time of the accident. He was pulled from the cockpit by rescuers, but suffered numerous broken bones and brain damage. He also had one of his legs amputated.

Family members of many of the passengers lost in the crash have sued Comair. The Delta subsidiary has responded with lawsuits against LEX director Michael Gobb, as well as airport chart maker Jeppesen-Sanderson and Tetra-Tech, the company working on a runway construction project at LEX at the time of the crash. The airline claims the airport failed to provide adequate notice of detours along the route to the runway due to construction.

The airport itself cannot be sued by Comair, ruled a federal judge last August... and the airline would require a special waiver to sue the FAA, which operates the airport's control facility.

Blue Grass attorney Tom Halbleib told the AP no new allegations were made by the insurance company against airport officials, and predicted the judge would eventually release LEX from the case. Spokespeople for Comair, the insurance company, and Polehinke did not immediately return the AP's calls last week.

FMI: www.comair.com, www.aig.com

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