US judge applies ‘crime victims’ status in Boeing 737 MAX crashes | News
The first Boeing Max 737 crashed in Indonesia in October 2018, killing 189 people and another crashed in Ethiopia killing 157 people.
A US federal court judge has ruled that the relatives of 346 people were killed in two car crashes Boeing 737 Max aircraft in Indonesia and Ethiopia was a representative of crime victims under federal law and should have been notified of separate negotiations for a settlement that would protect Boeing from criminal prosecution.
However, the full impact of Friday’s ruling remains unclear. The judge said the next step was to decide what remedies to take victim’s family should receive because it was not informed of the negotiations between the US government and Boeing.
The first Boeing Max 737 crashed in Indonesia in October 2018, killing 189 people, and another crashed five months later in Ethiopia, killing 157 people.
All Boeing 737 Max jets have been grounded worldwide for almost two years. They were allowed to fly again after Boeing overhauled the automatic flight control system that had misfired in both crashes.
Relatives are pushing for the cancellation of the US government’s January 2021 agreement with Boeing and have expressed anger that No one in the company should be held criminally responsible for two incidents.
Boeing Co., based in Arlington, Virginia, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the judge’s ruling.
Boeing, which misled safety regulators who approved the Max, agrees to pay $2.5 billion including a $243.6 million fine. In return, the US Department of Justice agreed not to prosecute the company for conspiring to defraud the government.
The Justice Department, in explaining why it did not tell the families about its secret negotiations with the company, argued that the loved ones were not victims of the crime.
However, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of Fort Worth, Texas, said Friday that the crashes were a foreseeable consequence of a Boeing plot to make the victims’ relatives adults crime area.
“In short, but for Boeing’s criminal plot to deceive the FAA, 346 people wouldn’t have lost their lives in plane crashes,” he wrote.
Boeing did not disclose key details to the Federal Aviation Administration about a safety system called MCAS, which has been implicated in both fatal crashes and is designed to help combat the jet’s upward trajectory. the MAX.
“If Boeing were not guilty,” pilots in Ethiopia and Indonesia would “be fully trained to respond to the MCAS activation that occurred on both aircraft,” O’Connor ruled.
Paul Cassell, attorney for the families, said the ruling “is a huge victory” and “sets the stage for an important hearing where we will offer proposed remedies for criminal prosecution holds Boeing fully accountable.”
Irish woman Naoise Connolly Ryan, whose husband Mick Ryan, senior engineer for the United Nations World Food Program who died in the second Max plane crash in Ethiopia, has long campaigned. that Boeing was responsible for her husband’s death.
“Families like me are the real victims of Boeing’s criminal misconduct and our views should be taken into account before the government offers them a great deal,” she said in a statement. provided by the family attorney.
Connolly Ryan was offered, along with all bereaved families, a substantial cash payment from Boeing, which she declined and said she wanted justice, according to Irish Examiner newspaper.
Bloomberg News reports in 2021 that the company’s shareholders had accused Boeing executives of lying about the company’s surveillance of its 737 Max 8 planes and had engaged in a misleading public relations campaign in the wake of the two crashes. aircraft-related deaths.
According to unsealed court filings, Boeing’s board of directors is accused of ignoring warnings about the 737 Max, failing to develop appropriate tools to assess safety on the plane, and failing to regulate justifiable accountability to former executives over a public relations campaign that pushed back the criticism. Bloomberg reported on flaws in the plane’s design.