200 minimum salaries
Flight 1907: Rio Supreme Court reduces indemnity to family of accident victim
18/12/2007 at 19:48
O Globo Online and Cláudia Lamego - O Globo
RIO - Appeals judge Sérgio Lúcio de Oliveira e Cruz, of the 15ª Civil Chamber of the Rio de Janeiro Supreme Court, decided Tuesday to reduce the value of the previously determined indemnity to the family of one of the victims of the accident with Gol flight 1907 in September of last year. At the end of August, judge Mauro Nicolau Júnior, of the 48th Civil Court, had condemned the airline to pay an indemnity for moral and material damages of one thousand minimum monthly salaries to each one of the three family member of Quézia Gonçalves Moreira who were parts to the suit. The airline, however, appealed the decision.
The family's lawyer, João Tancredo, classified the decision as "surprising and lamentable". According to him, the magistrate reduced the indemnity to 200 minimum salaries (for each family member) under the argument that this is the value conceded in similar cases by the 15th Chamber, despite recognizing the lack of precedent for the case - an accident of such proportions, in which the family's access to the body was delayed.
Despite the surprise at the result, the family declared that is still has hope in the Brazilian courts. João Tancredo, who praised the rapidity with which the judgment was scheduled (one week after the appeals judge received the suit), affirmed that he should appeal to the Superior Tribunal of Justice (STJ) or even bring a suit in the American courts.
"Brazil cannot reduce to insignificance a case like this, where a young woman age 21 lost her life. All the time, we wanted to have the chance to show the value of our courts achieving a just indemnity here, but we will evaluate after this moment if this will continue to be the best strategy to follow", he affirmed.
Quézia Gonçalves Moreira was 21 years old and was on Gol Flight 1907 because she was returning from a work trip for Inmetro [roughly, the Federal Bureau of Standards]. She lived in São João de Meriti, with her family, and had just passed civil service exam to work for Petrobras [a lifetime guarantee of high salary and benefits].
Accident killed 154 people
On September 29, 2006, the Gol plane fell in the region of Serra do Cachimbo, in Mato Grosso, in the midst of the dense Amazon jungle, after colliding with a Legacy jet, killing 154 people. An Air Force report indicates that there was human failure. The report does not explain if there was error by both the Legacy pilots and by the controllers, but affirms that the analyses performed on the jet's transponder and TCAS, equipment that could have avoided the collision, shows they "were in functioning condition until the accident" and that some "rules and procedures were not executed correctly".
In the United States, a lawsuit for damages by the families of the victims of the Gol accident is underway. In October, judge Brian Cogan determined that the suit will have the following defendants: Embraer, manufacturer of the Legacy; Rayteon (sic), manufacturer of the air traffic control software; Lockheed Martin, which makes turbines; the Legacy pilots Paul Paladino (sic) and Joseph Lepore; Excel Air (sic), owner of the jet; and Honeywell, which produced the Legacy's transponder.
The American courts, however, have still not decided if the suit will proceed in the United States or if the case is one whose jurisdiction is not in its bounds, in which case the case belongs to the Brazilian courts. There is still no estimated value for the indemnities and the lawyers hope that, once the lawsuit is accepted, this value will be arbitrated by the judge.