The Tragedy of TANS Peru Flight 204: Lessons on International Air Disaster Flight Mediation Fifteen Years Later - WAMR - 2019 Vol. 13, No. 4
Associate Attorney, Cruz & Associates; Juris Doctor, Florida International University College of Law (2020), B.A. in History, University of Florida.
Originally from World Arbitration and Mediation Review (WAMR)
One of the most difficult areas of tort litigation is dealing with international air disasters because of the complex issues that arise. Questions concerning the cause of the accident can be affected by where the aircraft flew, who was piloting the aircraft, the design of the aircraft, the frequency of aircraft maintenance, airline protocols in place at the time of the accident, and other issues relating to the complex engineering of a modern aircraft. Because our world is becoming increasingly globalized, a domestic plane crash can turn into an international case depending on where the victims of the accident were from and where the plane was manufactured. Further, these accidents are inherently delicate in nature because of the severe injuries and loss of life that result. Even attorneys who specialize in international air disasters consider these types of cases to be the most difficult to litigate. The complexity of international air disaster cases incentivizes both parties to mediate the case, rather than spend more time and money litigating in court.
In 2005, Transportes Aéreos Nacionales de la Selva (“TANS”) Perú Flight 204 crashed in the middle of a routine flight that departed from the capital of Lima on its way to the city of Pucallpa. This crash, which would have resulted in many years of international litigation, was efficiently settled through mediation by the parties. The purpose of this article is to use the events that transpired from the case of TANS Perú Flight 204 as a template for future cases involving international air disasters, and to show the pathway to effective dispute resolution through mediation. This article is primarily written from a plaintiff attorney’s perspective and uses information from the firsthand account of one of the attorneys and the law firm that represented some of the victims’ families onboard TANS Perú Flight 204. Care has been taken to preserve confidentiality in certain aspects of this case including, but not limited to, client names, settlement agreements, and specific details discussed during the mediation. Additionally, this article is written with the utmost respect to those who perished in the TANS Perú Flight 204 crash.