February 28, 2002
Aaliyah Crash Families File Lawsuits
STEPHEN M. SILVERMAN
Relatives of two people killed in a plane crash that also took the life of singer-actress Aaliyah filed wrongful-death lawsuits in Los Angeles Wednesday against her music label, Virgin Records America, and the plane's operator, reports the Associated Press. Brian Panish, the attorney for families of hair stylists Eric Forman, 29, and Anthony Dodd, 34, says Virgin 'took profits over the safety of transporting people' by using what he called a 'fly-by-night' charter aircraft company. 'These kids were young, urbane, at the top of their game,' AP quotes Charles Henderson, Forman's brother, as saying. The suits also note that 'Rock the Boat,' the video that 22-year-old Aaliyah filmed on location in the Bahamas, regularly plays on TV 'to the benefit of the various music-industry defendants in this action.' Also named in the suit is Blackhawk International Airways, Inc., the Florida-based company that operated the plane. Bahamian investigators say the aircraft was substantially overloaded and the weight of the passengers and cargo onboard was not properly distributed. The plane's pilot, Luis Morales, was not properly registered to fly the plane, according to Federal Aviation Authority officials. In all, nine people died in the Aug. 25 crash. A spokesperson for Virgin Records and an attorney representing Aaliyah's family did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
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