Kentucky Supreme Court Rules on Comair-Related Case

by Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

The Kentucky Supreme Court has issued a ruling related to the death of an off-duty pilot killed in the Comair crash in Lexington four years ago. The man was one of 49 people killed in the crash.

On August 27, 2006, Airtran Airways pilot Clarence Fortney died in the crash of Comair Flight 5191, which crashed on takeoff at the Lexington airport.

Fortney lived in Lexington, but was commuting to his job in Atlanta. An administrative law judge ruled Fortney’s family ineligible for a workers compensation award because Fortney’s death was not work-related.

The Workers’ Compensation Board disagreed and reversed the decision, but the Court of Appeals reversed the board. In a 5-2 decision, the Kentucky Supreme Court is reversing the appeals court.

The high court says Fortney clearly was commuting to his job in Atlanta when he died and Airtran’s free or reduced fare arrangements with other airlines was an inducement for him to live somewhere besides Atlanta – in this case with his family in Lexington.