P. M. Briefing : Northwest Settles Crash Claims

From Times Wire Services

Lawyers have settled all 157 lawsuits against Northwest Airlines in the crash of Flight 255 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, leaving McDonnell-Douglas the only defendant, a federal judge announced today.

U.S. District Judge Julian A. Cook Jr. did not disclose any details of the out-of-court settlement, which was prematurely revealed during the weekend by one of the attorneys involved in the case despite Cook's gag order.

Phoenix-bound Northwest Flight 255 crashed shortly after takeoff Aug. 16, 1987, killing 156 people. A 4-year-old girl now living with relatives in Alabama was the sole survivor of the nation's second-worst air disaster.

After announcing the settlement in the Northwest case, Cook immediately began questioning the six jurors and six alternates as to their impartiality to hear arguments in the suits against McDonnell-Douglas, the St. Louis-based manufacturer of the ill-fated MD-80 aircraft.

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