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Lawsuits from 2009 plane crash back in court

BUFFALO — A federal judge has tentatively set March 4, 2014, as the trial date for wrongful death lawsuits filed after the 2009 crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 near Buffalo.

More than 30 lawsuits have been settled in the four years since the crash that killed 50 people, but about a dozen remain in federal court and five wrongful death cases are pending in state Supreme Court.

Following a procedural conference Wednesday, an attorney for victims’ relatives says families who’ve been reluctant to settle want their day in court. They claim Continental, Pinnacle and Colgan Airlines recklessly operated the Newark, N.J.-to-Buffalo flight with unfit pilots.

The lawsuits were largely stalled for a year by a bankruptcy filing by Colgan and its parent, Pinnacle, but Pinnacle emerged from bankruptcy May 1.