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The latest information on this has been published by the Cairns Post on 29th June 2013:

Multimillion-dollar compensation air crash trial stalls – The Cairns Post

THE multimillion-dollar compensation case in the United States involving the families of 15 people killed in one of Australia’s worst civil aviation disasters has stalled.

All passengers and the two pilots on board a Transair twin-engine plane were killed when it crashed into a mountain near Lockhart River on May 7, 2005.

The Queensland Supreme Court finalised the last of the compensation claims filed in this state last year, and the families have turned their sights to law suits against the plane’s manufacturers and maintenance providers in the United States, which could potentially yield millions of dollars.

Lawyer Pat Nunan is acting for the families and told The Weekend Post it was hoped a trial would be held in Chicago this month, but the case had stalled because the country’s Federal Court was deliberating whether it had the jurisdiction to hear it.

He said the main point of contention was whether AirServices Australia’s arm in the United States was a government entity.

“There is strong argument to say that the company over in the United States is not a government instrumentality,” Mr Nunan said.

“That means to say that there is a very good chance of the matter being remitted from the Federal Courts in Illinois and the Federal Court in Missouri back to the state courts.”

Mr Nunan said the families had taken the news of the delay well.

“They understand the fact that it is a complicated legal issue in the United States and they are aware there is some difficulty with obtaining a hearing date so far,” he said.

“They are very patient people, I can tell you.”

He said all going well, a hearing could be held in September or October in Chicago.

Last year, four Cape York-based families of the victims were awarded the maximum $500,000 in compensation in a landmark decision which took into account the value of traditional hunting to indigenous people.