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Legal wrangling not finished

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Relatives of an Oklahoma State basketball
player killed in a university plane crash in 2001 were awarded a
$1.6 million settlement, a newspaper reported Monday.

The settlement to the family of Daniel Lawson Jr. was split
between Lawson's parents, son and attorneys, The Oklahoman reported
in its Monday editions.

Lawson, a 21-year-old junior guard, was one of 10 men who died
Jan. 27, 2001, when an airplane carrying members of the basketball
program crashed in a Colorado field on the way back from a
basketball game at the University of Colorado. Two other planes
arrived safely in Stillwater, Okla.

Lawson's son, Ramses B. Hereford, received $440,139, his
parents, Daniel Lawson Sr. and Phyllis Lawson, each received
$223,238 and the remaining money -- nearly $730,000 -- was awarded to
attorneys for legal fees and costs, according to court records.

The settlement was reached at a mediation conference in April,
but terms were not disclosed publicly until a filing in Oklahoma
County District Court in October.

The families of five other men killed in the crash also reached
settlements at the two-day mediation hearing, but attorneys said a
confidentiality agreement bars them from discussing what each
family received.

Lawson family attorney Kevin Cox said the involvement of
Lawson's son, who was born March 21, 2001, led to the public
filing.

"The court has to approve any settlement with a minor," Cox
said.

The settlement was a result of several civil lawsuits filed by
family members of the crash victims.

Three defendants who agreed to settle at the conference provided
most of the Lawsons' settlement.

North Bay Charter, the owner of the downed airplane, and the
estate of the late pilot Denver Mills combined to pay more than
$1.2 million. Marathon Power Technologies Company, an airplane
parts manufacturer, paid $200,000.

The settlement included $175,000 from Oklahoma State University,
a financial deal made before the April conference, court records
show.

"There was very serious insurance limitations and that was a
major factor in how the settlements were made," Cox said. "There
was not a great deal of insurance."

Cox said his clients "did as well as they could" considering
the limitations and the amount of plaintiffs involved.

As a result of the settlement conference, the families of
Lawson, Mills, Nate Fleming, Jared Weiberg, Bjorn Fahlstrom and
Will Hancock agreed to release all defendants except airplane
manufacturer Raytheon Aircraft Co., which walked out of the
negotiations.

All six families are pursuing legal action against Raytheon.
Wichita, Kan.-based Raytheon is scheduled to go to trial in March
as a defendant in a case involving Hancock's wife, Karen, and the
Mills estate.

Karen Hancock is seeking nearly $25 million in damages from
Raytheon, according to court records. The Mills estate has asked
for an award of nearly $12 million.

Hancock's family also received $200,000 from Marathon, according
to a filing in Payne County District Court. Oklahoma State reached
a $40,000 settlement with Fahlstrom's parents, according to an
Oklahoma County court filing.

The four other families who lost loved ones in the crash agreed
to undisclosed settlements and signed global releases six months
after the crash.