According to the news report by The Washington Post, on Thursday, March 29, a lawsuit was filed against Boeing Co. in the US Federal Court. This seemed to be the first such suit against the aviation giant over the fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737 Max 8 on March 10 in which all 157 people on board were killed just minutes after take-off.
The lawsuit was filed at the Chicago Federal Court which is where the company is headquartered. The suit was filed on behalf of Huguette Debets, a representative of Jackson Musoni’s family. Jackson Musoni, an employee of the United Nations and a citizen of Rwanda, was one of the 157 people killed in the crash.
According to the lawsuit, the crash was caused by the new flight control system that Boeing had installed in its 737 Max 8 jets. These airplanes were the company’s newest designs and also its best-selling aircraft.
However, the jets had already been involved in 2 crashes in less than 5 months, the first one taking place on October 29, where 189 people died when Lion Air’s Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed into the Java Sea off the coast of Indonesia.
After the Ethiopian Airlines crash, the second of its kind, aviation authorities across the world, including in the US, grounded the 737 Max 8 aircraft until further notice.
Boeing is already facing lawsuits from the Lion Air crash, with over 30 families of the deceased suing the company. This new lawsuit appears to be the first related to the Ethiopian Airlines crash.
The attorney representing Musoni’s family, Steve Marks from the Miami-based law firm Podhurst Orseck, stated that Boeing had all the information from the reports of the Lion Air crash and should have taken the necessary steps to ensure the company protected air passengers. Marks also stated that this accident should never have happened.
The lawsuit alleged that the crash took place because Boeing had, among other things, developed a new flight control system for its latest jet that would automatically and incorrectly push the aircraft’s nose down because of incorrect sensors. Added to that, Boeing omitted warning its customers of this fatal defect.
The lawsuit called the design of the system defective, with inadequate warning systems and was dangerous.
The lawsuit also included the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) in its allegations, stating that the agency allowed Boeing to approve parts of the aircraft certification process and also helped the company to rush the deliveries of the 737 Max 8, which is why the final safety analysis report had so many critical flaws.
The lawsuit was filed just one day after Boeing tried to reassure everyone of the safety of its aircraft, outlining upgrades to the plane’s software as well as more training for the pilots who were to fly these planes.
However, despite the company’s attempts, the US Department of Justice is now investigating the 737 Max airplanes. Additionally, the inspector general of the Transport Department is looking into how the plane’s certification was handled. The entire matter is also being probed into by the Congress as well as special committee that has been set up by Elain Chao, the US Transport Secretary.
In fact, the US Congress held its first hearing on the approval process for certification as well as the Federal Aviation Administrations oversight of the process. This is expected to be the first of many hearings related to this matter.
Boeing did not respond to the lawsuit, while the acting FAA administrator safeguarded the agency’s oversight approach at the Congressional hearing on Wednesday.