More Brazil Midair Lawsuits Filed

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At least 16 lawsuits filed Friday in federal court are seeking financial compensation for the loss of 154 people killed when a Gol airlines 737 made airborne contact with an ExcelAire Legacy business jet over the Amazon rain forest last September 29. The suits filed in Miami name New York-based charter provider ExcelAire and the U.S. pilots of the Legacy -- Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino -- who were previously detained for more than 70 days in Brazil following the accident. It claims the pilots did not maintain proper altitude, failed to properly maintain communication with air traffic control and didn't operate the aircraft properly. Defects in the air traffic control system, which was developed and maintained by Lockheed Martin and two other companies, also factor into the crash and the lawsuit, according to the Associated Press. Honeywell, maker of the Legacy's TCAS, was also named in the suit, and a company spokesman said there is evidence showing that the airplane's TCAS malfunctioned. A lawyer representing affected families said they would be asking for millions of dollars, though no exact dollar figure has yet been released.