'U' pays $350,000 settlement to airline involved in 2007 crash

BY TREVOR CALERO
Daily Staff Reporter
Published September 29, 2008

The University of Michigan has agreed to pay $350,000 to Marlin Air, a local charter airline company that sued the University last year.

The University terminated its contract with the Belleville-based airline six weeks after a jet containing four members of the University’s Survival Flight organ transplant team and two pilots crashed into Lake Michigan last June. The accident killed all six on board.

The team crashed while traveling from Milwaukee, Wisc. to Ann Arbor to deliver a pair of lungs for a 50-year-old man being treated at the University Hospital.

The lawsuit, which was filed Dec. 5 and sought to obtain the remainder of the money left on the contract, cited “irreparable damages” caused by the University’s decision to sever ties with the company as the reason for demanding more than $1 million in damages.

The University released a statement in January saying it terminated the contract to “provide the best care possible to our patients and their families.” The statement went on to say, “Marlin Air did not have the ability to provide the services required by our institution.”

Marlin Air owner Stuart Dingman declined to comment on the settlement. University Health System spokeswoman Krista Hopson also declined comment on the agreement, but said the University is “working on a plan for long-term fixed wing service.”

The University disclosed the settlement last week through a Freedom of Information Act by The Ann Arbor News.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the crash.