UPDATE: In Court Filing Ethiopia 737 MAX Crash Lawyers ask Boeing CEO to Testify

Families have called for testimony from Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun, his predecessor [Dennis Muilenburg, pictured above] and other current and former employees as part of their legal case in Chicago, court documents show. (Reuters)

Reuters

Relatives of victims of a Boeing Co 737 MAX crash in Ethiopia that occurred five months after an Indonesian Lion Air disaster are stepping up pressure on the American planemaker and the federal government, according to a court filing and a letter to U.S. lawmakers.

Families have called for testimony from Boeing Chief Executive Dave Calhoun, his predecessor and other current and former employees as part of their legal case in Chicago, court documents show.

Separately, the families urged lawmakers in letter to demand that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration turn over internal emails and documents spanning the Lion Air crash and one month after the Ethiopian crash. Together, 346 people died.

The letter was sent to members of the House and Senate transportation committees on Friday, including committee head Representative Peter DeFazio and aviation subcommittee chair Representative Rick Larsen.

A Congressional official said: “I can confirm that this week Chairs DeFazio and Larsen re-upped their request to DOT (Department of Transportation) for FAA records that have gone unfulfilled to date.”

A Senate report in December detailed lapses in aviation safety oversight and failed leadership in the FAA. It found that FAA leaders obstructed that report as well as a DOT watchdog review of the regulator’s oversight, the results of which were released on Wednesday.

“There is serious unfinished business,” the families said in the letter, reviewed by Reuters.

Boeing has mostly settled civil litigation stemming from the Lion Air crash, but still faces over 100 lawsuits in Chicago federal court related to the second crash.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers are focusing on what Boeing knew about the causes of the first crash and why the plane continued to fly. They want to schedule depositions of Calhoun and Muilenburg between May 3 and June 18.

Those victims’ families also want to know what FAA management, which in November lifted a 20-month safety ban of the MAX, understood about the first crash.

Boeing’s board faces a separate investor lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court, where a complaint unsealed this month alleged breach of fiduciary duties and gross negligence by failing “to monitor the safety of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplanes.”

Last month, Boeing reached a $2.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department over the 737 MAX crashes, including a $243.6 million fine.

Related:

Boeing Reaches $2.5 Billion Settlement in 737 MAX Crashes in Ethiopia & Indonesia


Ethiopian officials deliver the Black Box for Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to the headquarters of France’s BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, France on March 14, 2019. As NPR reports the families of the passengers who died in the crash will be compensated from a fund of $500 million. (Reuters photo)

NPR

Updated: January 7th, 2021

Boeing To Pay $2.5 Billion Over 737 Max Fraud, Faces No Other Charges

Boeing will pay more than $2.5 billion to settle criminal charges that it repeatedly concealed and lied about the 737 Max’s engineering problems that led to two catastrophic crashes claiming hundreds of lives.

The company admitted to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States as part of the deferred prosecution agreement announced on Thursday and will face no further charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Boeing’s employees chose the path of profit over candor by concealing material information from the FAA concerning the operation of its 737 Max airplane and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception,” Acting Assistant Attorney General David Burns of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, wrote in a statement.

Boeing, which is the country’s second-biggest defense contractor behind Lockheed Martin, will pay the DOJ a criminal penalty of $243.6 million.

The families and legal beneficiaries of the 346 passenger victims who died in the Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in Ethiopia five months later will be paid from a fund of $500 million. If split equally among them, that amounts to a little over $1.4 million for each family.

The vast majority of the settlement is allocated for airline companies that had purchased the faulty 737 Max aircraft and were subsequently forced to ground the planes following the crashes. Together they will receive $1.77 billion in compensation for their financial losses, according to the DOJ.

“The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world’s leading commercial airplane manufacturers,” Burns added in the statement.

In both cases, the crashes were caused by changes to the jet’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System that forced the nose of the 737 Max toward the ground and left pilots unable to control the planes.

In a note to employees, Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer David Calhoun said, “I firmly believe that entering into this resolution is the right thing for us to do—a step that appropriately acknowledges how we fell short of our values and expectations.”

He added: “This resolution is a serious reminder to all of us of how critical our obligation of transparency to regulators is, and the consequences that our company can face if any one of us falls short of those expectations.”

Internal Boeing documents revealed during a U.S.House panel’s inquiry showed that engineers notified the company of the MCAS “egregious” problems as early as 2016.

Related:

Ethiopian Report Blames Boeing for 737 MAX Plane Crash

Boeing to Stop 737 Max Production (AP)

Internal FAA review saw high risk of 737 MAX crashes

Boeing Was Aware of 737 Max Problem Long Before Ethiopia Crash – Report

Boeing CEO Apologizes to Victims of Ethiopia, Indonesia Crashes

Ethiopian Airlines Slams Bloomberg’s Ex-Pilot Story as ‘Baseless & False Allegation’

Read Excerpt From Ethiopia Crash Report

Ethiopian Airlines Expresses Disappointment – Calls Out Media Outlets Eager to Blame Pilot

Watch: Ethiopian CEO on The Future of Boeing 737 Max Planes — NBC Exclusive

Watch: Ethiopia Releases 737 Max Preliminary Crash Report

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