Judge Holds Owners of Aircraft Responsible in Jenni Rivera Crash Lawsuit | NBC Connecticut

Judge Holds Owners of Aircraft Responsible in Jenni Rivera Crash Lawsuit

Rivera dominated the banda style of regional Mexican music popular in California and northwestern Mexico.

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    Jenni Rivera, pictured here at the 2009 Billboard Latin Music Awards. She died in the 2012 Learjet crash in Mexico.

    A judge Wednesday entered a $70 million default judgment on behalf of relatives of four members of Jenni Rivera's entourage who died along with the singer in a 2012 Learjet crash in Mexico, holding the owners of the aircraft responsible for the deaths.

    Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Holly Kendig's order regarding Starwood Management LLC comes 3 1/2 years after the lawsuit was filed by family members of Rivera's publicist, Arturo Rivera; makeup artist Jacobo Yebale; hairstylist Jorge Armando Sanchez Vasquez; and lawyer, Mario Macias Pacheco.

    In September 2014, Kendig granted a motion striking Starwood's answer to the lawsuit, opening the door for the default judgment.

    Family members claimed in the lawsuit that the plane's owners failed to properly maintain the aircraft and train the crew, according to court documents.

    Lawyers for the plaintiffs issued a statement regarding the judge's ruling.

    "Responsibility for the crash of the Learjet that tragically took the lives of Jenni Rivera and her entourage on December 12, 2012, has now been determined," the statement reads. "Starwood Management LLC has been held responsible for the deaths of our clients' respective loved ones and judgment was entered on our clients' behalf. The next step in the litigation will be moving to compel Starwood to satisfy the judgments by paying the families for the death of their respective loved ones."

    Relatives of Rivera and Miguel Perez Soto, one of two pilots who died in the crash, Mexico, each have separate civil suits pending.

    The crash of the 1969 Learjet 25 occurred about 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 9, 2012 -- 15 minutes after takeoff -- in the mountains of northern Mexico. The 43-year-old singer had just performed in Monterrey and was on her way to Mexico City to appear on the Mexican version of "The Voice."

    Rivera dominated the banda style of regional Mexican music popular in California and northwestern Mexico. She was one of the biggest stars on Mexico television and was popular on "regional Mexican" stations in California.