John Cádiz Klemack
A lawsuit has been filed involving the plane crash that killed Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera and her entourage. Lawyers claim neither of the pilots were qualified to fly the plane at the altitude it was flying at. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2013.
Lawyers representing people traveling with banda singer Jenni Rivera on a plane that crashed in Mexico last month filed a lawsuit Thursday against the aircraft's owners and the singer's production company.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleged that neither of the plane's two pilots - a 78-year-old and a 20-year-old - was qualified to fly the singer and her staff that day.
Named in the suit were Starwood Management, which owned the 1969 Learjet 25 in which the group was flying, along with its previous owner, McOco, Inc. Jenni Rivera Enterprises, Inc., was also listed as a defendant.
The suit was filed by survivors of Rivera’s publicist, makeup artist, hairdresser and lawyer. The group did not seek punitive damages against Jenni Rivera Enterprises, but it did seek them against the other companies.
The group, which included the singer as well as Arturo Rivera, Jaboco Yebale, Jorge Armando Sanchez Vasquez and Mario Macias Pacheco, had just taken off after a concert in Monterrey on Dec. 9 when the aircraft nosedived and crashed into a mountain.
Their lawyers, with the firm of Kiesel, Boucher & Larson in Beverly Hills, discussed the suit at a news conference on Thursday morning.
"An airplane dropped out of the sky and did a nose dive, and I know that shouldn't happen," said Paul Kiesel, the attorney for the plaintiffs.
The Rivera family did not want to comment on the suit, but representatives said they were surprised by the filing.
Kiesel said the legal action was in part an effort to find out what happened.
"I understand the deep sense of loss that they feel and I certainly don't want to add to that strife to them," Kiesel said. "But, on the other hand, I want to fully investigate all possible explanations as to why this aircraft went down."