CHICAGO, IL MARCH 28, 2019 – In light of the recent evidence regarding design issues with the 737 Max 8, more families of the passengers of the tragic flight of Lion Air JT610 have decided to seek justice in the U.S. “Given this latest news, more and more families have decided to take action, ” said Manuel von Ribbeck of Ribbeck Law, one of the attorneys representing the majority of the plaintiffs who have decided to file suit in U.S. courts. “We are alleging Boeing was responsible for the crash of Lion Air JT610 due to the dangerous condition created by its Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), an automated safety feature designed to prevent the plane from entering into a stall, but which actually forced the plane into a nose dive. We contend Boeing failed to properly inform airline pilots about features of this new automated flight-control system in its 737 Max 8, and we believe this created an unacceptably dangerous condition” stated Mr. von Ribbeck.
“In the aftermath of both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, more than 40 countries have grounded the entire fleet of 737 Max’s from their airspace, including the U.S., Australia, the European Union, India, Thailand and Malaysia. In addition, Canada, China and Germany have specifically grounded the 737 Max 8 out of concern for passenger safety,” stated Mr. von Ribbeck.
Flight tracking data on Lion Air Flight JT 610 shows pilots struggled to keep the aircraft nose up, after repeatedly being pushed down in excess of 20 times, in order to maintain altitude. Mr. von Ribbeck stated that because of the potential dangers associated with Boeing’s MCAS in the 737 Max 8, “The Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. regulator, had to issue in November 2018, an emergency Airworthiness Directive for all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 planes-warning of an “unsafe condition” that could lead to excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain.”
“We are often asked why the Lion Air crash should be litigated in the U.S. rather than Indonesia,” said Mr. von Ribbeck. “It must be remembered that Boeing is headquartered in Chicago, all of Boeing’s design and manufacturing evidence regarding the 737 Max 8 is located in the U.S., and troubling questions have been raised regarding the FAA’s certification of the 737 Max, which is now being investigated by several agencies in the U.S.” “All decisions based on the initial airworthiness of the 737 Max 8 were made in the U.S. by the FAA and Boeing.” According to Mr. von Ribbeck, “The safety of the U.S.-designed 737 Max 8 should be litigated in the U.S. where this plane was made. When there are two crashes involving two new 737 Max 8s within five months there are clearly safety issues that affect all of us, not just the people of Indonesia or Ethiopia, and we believe the solution to the problem can only be found in the U.S. at the doorstep of Boeing.”
Monica Kelly of Ribbeck Law, went on to say, “In the aftermath of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, it is time to revisit the rules governing accident investigations both domestically and internationally.” According to Mrs. Kelly, “When a commercial airplane crash occurs, the manufacturer of the airplane is invited, government agencies are involved, component part manufacturers are often invited, but noticeably absent is an independent expert selected or appointed by the families whose loved ones were lost.” Mrs. Kelly further stated, “If someone’s plane is suspected of causing the death of my child, I would not want the manufacturer of that plane to investigate itself, and certainly not to the exclusion of an independent expert who represents the interests of the families.” Mrs. Kelly added, “The NTSB, ICAO, and other similar organizations should consider anew whether an expert or investigator appointed by the families should be invited to ensure that there is no undue influence by Boeing or others.”
Austin Bartlett of BartlettChen LLC added, “With the worldwide focus on the grounding of the 737 Max 8 and forthcoming safety enhancements, we hope that Boeing does not lose sight of the 346 lives that have been tragically lost in these crashes. We hope that Boeing’s CEO applies the same sense of purpose and vigor to helping these families as he is in getting Boeing’s planes back in the air.” Mr.Bartlett further stated, “We are appalled that, as reported in the New York Times, families impacted by the Lion Air crash are being offered approximately $91,600 by Lion Air, but only if they also release their claims against Boeing.”