Two of eight people injured when an Aeromexico jet collided with a supply truck on a Los Angeles International Airport service road in 2017 are suing the airline, alleging it delayed paying them $115,000 to settle the plaintiffs’ lawsuit in order to file for bankruptcy and put the case on hold.
Masreshaw Ayele and Marquita Kersh brought the complaint Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging fraud, breach of contract and conspiracy. The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
An Aeromexico representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
Aeromexico Flight 642 had just landed at LAX about 2:30 p.m. on May 20, 2017, and was headed to a gate when the Boeing 737 struck the truck on its left side, causing it to overturn, injuring six men and two women aboard, authorities said at the time.
No one aboard the jet was hurt, no fuel was spilled and the jet eventually taxied to the gate and the 149 passengers disembarked about 90 minutes after landing, authorities said.
The plaintiffs sued the airline in U.S. District Court in August 2018, and in November 2019, Aeromexico agreed in writing to the settlement proposal to pay $75,000 to Ayele and $40,000 to Kersh, theirsuit states.
Aeromexico made repeated promises to the plaintiffs that the money would be paid, but when lawyers for the plaintiffs inquired about the status of the checks in March, Aeromexico representatives said they were working remotely because of the coronavirus and would check, the suit states.
The plaintiffs continued to make demands for payment, but Aeromexico later filed a motion stating there had been “unexpected delays in collecting the settlement funds,” according to the suit.
The court granted a delay until June 5 to finalize the settlement, according to the complaint. But on June 4, Aeromexico filed a status report with the court, blaming the coronavirus and the corresponding business slowdown for delays in collecting the settlement monies, the suit states.
On July 7, an Aeromexico lawyer told attorneys for Ayele and Kersh that the airline had filed for bankruptcy and that the plaintiffs’ case was stayed “immediately and indefinitely,” according to the suit.
The plaintiffs allege Aeromexico and its attorneys knew the carrier would file for bankruptcy, and concealed that fact to prevent Ayele and Kersh from taking appropriate action to collect the settlement monies.
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