Court rules against Boeing on ‘crime victim’ status for ET302 families

By AT editor - 22 October 2022 at 4:48 pm
Court rules against Boeing on ‘crime victim’ status for ET302 families

Families who lost loved ones in two aviation disasters linked to technical flaws in Boeing’s aircraft systems can be considered crime victims while pursuing legal judgments, according to a long-awaited ruling handed down late Friday in United States courts.

In an 18-page ruling, District Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas said the March 2019 deaths of passengers aboard Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, as well as the deaths caused by the October 2018 crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, were the direct result of criminal behavior on the part of Boeing and its leaders.

“The Court finds that the tragic loss of life that resulted from the two airplane crashes was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of Boeing’s conspiracy to defraud the United States,” said O’Connor.

The finding is based on the understanding that the pilots involved in the two flight disasters would have received appropriate technical training on the flawed Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), if Boeing had not first concealed the truth from U.S. regulatory authorities.

As part of a January 2021 agreement, Boeing admitted in court documents that it deceived the Federal Aviation Administration about MCAS performance in its 737 MAX aircraft. The company agreed to pay more than US$2.5 billion in penalties as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The amount included $500 million for the families of the 346 passengers who died, but additional cases were brought to establish their status as crime victims. The ruling allows for that status and the subsequent right to seek additional damages as crime victims.

Image: Ethiopian Airlines


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