LOS ANGELES — An investigation of the 2012 Learjet crash near Monterrey, Mexico, that killed Long Beach-based singer Jenni Rivera and six others is not finished, an attorney representing relatives of Rivera's entourage said today.
Steven Archer told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Holly Kendig that parts of the 1969 Learjet 25 aircraft are in Mexico and that other parts are in Kansas. Members of Rivera's immediate family have yet to sign on to the lawsuit, pending the completion of the crash investigation.
Killed with Rivera were her publicist, Arturo Rivera; makeup artist Jacobo Yebale; hairstylist Jorge Armando Sanchez Vasquez; and Mario Macias Pacheco, her attorney. In January 2013, their relatives sued the owner of the plane, Starwood Management LLC, claiming wrongful death, loss of support and punitive damages.
Pilot Miguel Perez and co-pilot Alessandro Torres also died in the crash.
Kendig said she would not decide on a trial date until Sept. 9, when she is set to hear a motion by Archer to strike legal documents previously submitted on behalf of Starwood Management LLC, which would begin the default process.
Archer maintains the eight-passenger, twin-engine jet was poorly maintained and unsafe to fly.
Starwood has not participated in the case since February, when Kendig granted a request by attorney Mark Velasquez to withdraw from the case. Velasquez said a dispute arose between him and Starwood over his pay.
Kendig told lawyers to report to her Sept. 9 how long they expect the trial to last and the length of time needed to gather information from all sides.
The crash occurred Dec. 9, 2012, when the jet crashed about 3:30 a.m., 15 minutes after leaving Monterrey in the mountains of northern Mexico. Rivera had just performed in Monterrey and was on her way to Mexico City to appear on the Mexican version of “The Voice.”
Family members of one of two pilots killed have joined the case. Rivera's husband, former Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Esteban Loaiza, filed a separate wrongful death suit against Starwood. His attorneys also are seeking a default judgment against Starwood.
Rivera, 43, 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.