Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Ex-employee settles lawsuit with Alaska

Seattle Times staff reporter

A former maintenance supervisor at Alaska Airlines has settled a federal lawsuit against the airline that alleged he was wrongfully fired for raising safety concerns after the fatal crash of Alaska Flight 261.

As part of the settlement, Alaska Chief Executive Bill Ayer agreed to provide a letter to the supervisor, Mansour Fadaie, and his family apologizing for the distress caused by Fadaie's firing in 2003. Fadaie worked at Alaska's Seattle maintenance hangar.

Both sides agreed to not discuss other terms of the agreement.

Fadaie, 53, who worked for Alaska for 13 years, alleged the airline retaliated against him for complaining to superiors that the company had not completed a tool-inspection program ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after the crash of Flight 261 in January 2000.

The directive was issued after the FAA discovered Alaska had been using a questionable device to measure wear on the jackscrew mechanisms of its MD-80 jets.

Failure of a jackscrew — a part in the tail section that helps control the plane's angle of flight — led to the crash of Flight 261, killing all 88 passengers and crew. Federal investigators found that the jackscrew had not been adequately lubricated, causing excessive wear.

In court papers, Alaska denied Fadaie was the target of retaliation, arguing he was fired after the company decided he lacked supervisory skills and his union wouldn't allow him to return to a lower position.

The settlement, reached Monday, came as the case neared trial.

Ayer's letter will state that Fadaie's firing occurred under a "different management structure than is currently in place today."

It will add, "We sincerely value the service Mr. Fadaie provided during his employment and his commitment to safety and quality. We are pleased that we were able to reach an amicable settlement of Mr. Fadaie's lawsuit."

Fadaie's attorney, Jack Sheridan, and Alaska spokeswoman Caroline Boren confirmed the settlement and the wording of the letter.

Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company


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