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Families of victims in Jenni Rivera plane crash file lawsuit

January 10, 2013 | 12:52 pm

The families of four passengers who died aboard a plane carrying Jenni Rivera filed a lawsuit Thursday against four entities, including the singer's corporation.

The lawsuit seeks punitive damages against the current owners of the jet, as well as the previous owner, which sold the plane last year.

The negligence suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court names Starwood Management LLC, Rodatz Financial Group Inc., McOco Inc. and Jenni Rivera Enterprises Inc.

DOCUMENT: Read the lawsuit

Attorneys named Rivera's company because of its role in choosing to fly in the 43-year-old Learjet 25. The plane crashed in Mexico on Dec. 9 after nose-diving. Rivera, the four passengers and two pilots were killed.

Earlier media reports said the singer's family would be part of the lawsuit, but it wasn't.

"We cast a wide net to find out exactly who is responsible and it may be that they're not," attorney Paul Kiesel said. "We have named Rivera Enterprises, who likely arranged the charter of this plane, in hindsight a very bad decision."

PHOTOS: Fans remember Jenni Rivera

The lawsuit seeks punitive damages against current owners, Starwood and Rodatz, as well as previous owner McOco, which sold the plane last June. The attorneys said they are not seeking punitive damages against the singer's company.

The suit was filed on behalf of the estates of publicist Arturo Rivera, makeup artist Jacob Yebale, attorney Mario Macias Pacheco and hair dresser Jorge "Gigi" Armando Sanchez Vasquez.

At a downtown Los Angeles news conference, attorneys also took issue with the two pilots, ages 78 and 20.

"Neither pilot was licensed to operate this aircraft at the time and altitude it was flying," Kiesel said.

However, the pilots were not named in the lawsuit, and the lawyers do not expect them to be.

The cause of the crash has not been determined and it could take over a year before the National Transportation Safety Board wraps up its probe, Kiesel said.

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-- Adolfo Flores
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