Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, May 24, 2005


Page 3


Judge Approves Settlement For Family of Woman Who Fell While Deplaning


By a MetNews Staff Writer


A U.S. district judge yesterday approved the settlement of a local woman’s suit charging that a commuter airline was responsible for injuries she and her children suffered in a fall when she was 22 to 23 weeks pregnant.

Judge Gary Feess of the Central District of California approved the agreement under which Skyway Airlines will pay $8 million to Carrie Heckman; her husband Wrye Martin; and their minor children Malcolm and Lola Margin.

The family’s attorney, John P. McNicholas of the Westside firm of McNicholas and McNicholas, said Lola Martin was born extremely prematurely on July 2, 2002 after her mother fell from the air stairs of a Skyway commuter jet at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. She weighed only one pound, four ounces at birth, the attorney said.

Heckman and her son Malcolm, whom she was holding at the time of the fall, were also injured, McNicholas explained, and the family’s medical expenses to date are in excess of $2.75 million.

“It has been very rewarding for me personally to be able to help this beautiful child...and her family  recover and begin to return to the mainstream of daily life,” McNicholas told the MetNews.

The attorney claimed that the plane’s entire crew had deplaned from the small craft ahead of Heckman, in violation of federal regulations. The airline, which did not admit liability, consistently maintained that the flight attendant remained at the flight of the stairs.


Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company