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Russian firm sues Boeing over Max jet, says defects hidden

Associated PressAugust 27, 2019

Russia Boeing

FILE – In this April 10, 2019, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane being built for Spain-based Air Europa rolls toward takeoff before a test flight at Boeing Field in Seattle. A Russian aircraft leasing company that ordered 35 Boeing Max jets is suing the U.S. aircraft maker, accusing it of hiding defects in the plane that has been grounded after two deadly crashes. The Miami-based lawyer for the leasing company said Tuesday, Aug. 27, it is the first lawsuit filed against Boeing by a Max customer. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian aircraft leasing company that ordered 35 Boeing Max jets is suing the U.S. aircraft maker and seeking to cancel the deal, accusing Boeing of hiding defects in the plane that was grounded after two deadly crashes.

The Miami-based lawyer for the leasing company said Tuesday it is the first lawsuit filed against Boeing by a Max customer. He said he is talking to other companies about joining the case.

The lawsuit on behalf of Avia Capital Services was filed Monday in state court in Illinois, where Boeing is based. It claims that Boeing committed fraud and breach of contract and was negligent in how it designed and built the plane and convinced the Federal Aviation Administration to approve it.

A spokesman for Boeing declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

Avia could become the first customer to cancel a signed agreement to buy the Max as a result of the crashes and grounding. In July, Saudi Arabian discount airline flyadeal backed out of a commitment to order 50 Max jets, but unlike Avia, flyadeal never signed a firm order.

Nearly 400 Max jets that were being flown by airlines around the world have been grounded since March, shortly after the second of two crashes that together killed 346 people.

Avia ordered Max jets in 2012 and was originally set to begin receiving them this year, but the deliveries were delayed. The company is seeking damages of at least $115 million, which attorney Steven Marks said included a $40 million deposit and $75 million in lost profit, plus additional money for punitive damages.

Marks, who also represents families of passengers who were killed in the two crashes, said he has talked to “several” other Max customers and expects some to join the Avia lawsuit. None are U.S. companies, he said.

Executives for Southwest, American and United have stood by Boeing through the Max ordeal.

Boeing lost $3 billion in the second quarter after taking a $4.9 billion after-tax charge to cover future costs of compensating airlines and other Max customers. Boeing is working to upgrade flight-control software implicated in the crashes and expects the plane to be cleared to fly in November.

Russian company first customer to sue Boeing over 737 Max

Avia Capital Services claims crashes due to ‘negligent actions’ of manufacturer

Tue, Aug 27, 2019, 14:25

Boeing 737 Max airplanes parked near Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington.

Boeing 737 Max airplanes parked near Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington.

A Russian aircraft leasing company is suing Boeing for breach of contract in connection with its grounded 737 Max in what is the first lawsuit brought against the US manufacturer by a customer over the safety crisis.

Avia Capital Services, a subsidiary of Russian state conglomerate Rostec, claims two deadly crashes were due to the “negligent actions and decisions of Boeing” not just in designing a plane that was “defective” but also in “withholding critical information” from the US aviation safety regulator during certification.

The complaint, which was filed in Cook county circuit court in Chicago on Monday, claims that Boeing “intentionally” failed to disclose information about the airworthiness of the Max to its customers, including Avia, in order to induce them to buy the aircraft.

Avia ordered 35 Max 8 jets from Boeing before they were grounded worldwide in March, and now it wants the order cancelled. The company says it gave Boeing a cash deposit of $35 million (€31 million) to secure the order, and is asking for that amount to be returned with interest, along with $75 million in lost profits for a total of $115 million in compensatory damages, plus “several times the amount” in punitive damages.

Fallout

Avia’s lawyer, Steven Marks of the Miami aviation law firm Podhurst Orseck, told the Financial Times in an interview that Boeing had offered compensation but it was inadequate. He said other Boeing customers had been in touch with him about bringing similar lawsuits. The Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer has been negotiating compensation deals with customers and it took a $4.9 billion charge in the second quarter for that purpose.

“I think you will see a number of other operators filing suit in coming months. This will be the first of many to come,” Mr Marks said.

The lawyer is also representing 30 families of victims of both the Lion Air crash in October last year and the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy in March, which together killed 346 people. The fallout from those two crashes has damaged Boeing’s reputation and finances; the company posted its biggest quarterly loss in July. Boeing declined to comment.

Even before the crashes, Avia and Boeing had agreed to delay delivery of 33 of the Max aircraft to the Russian company. Originally scheduled for delivery between October, 2019 and February, 2022, the orders were pushed back to between March, 2022 and December, 2024. The reason for the delay was not clear.

While official investigations into the accidents are ongoing, an anti-stall system, the MCAS, which is unique to the Max, has been implicated. The system is designed to pitch the plane’s nose automatically downwards when it senses a stall is imminent, which it was found to have done repeatedly in both accidents. Boeing has been working on a software fix to ensure the system only activates once. It will also no longer be triggered by one sensor only.

Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s chief executive, said in April that the company had “followed exactly the steps in our design and certification processes that consistently produce safe airplanes”. The company has said it expects the Max to start returning to service “early in the fourth quarter”. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019

Russian company first Boeing customer to sue over 737 Max planes

Avia agreed years ago to buy 35

By: 

  • Rob McLean, CNN Business

Posted: Aug 27, 2019 12:42 PM CDT

Updated: Aug 27, 2019 12:42 PM CDT

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

A Boeing 737 MAX airplane is pictured on he tarmac with its signature winglet and fuel efficient engines outside the company’s factory on March 11, 2019 in Renton, Washington. 

(CNN) – A Russian company that leases aircraft is suing Boeing over the plane maker’s grounded 737 Max 8 jets. It is the first Boeing customer to sue over the grounding.

Avia, which agreed several years ago to buy 35 of the planes, claims Boeing breached the contract by misrepresenting how safe the plane was to fly, and alleges it put profits ahead of safety, as it competed with rival Airbus for market share.

Boeing “represented that the 737 Max 8 was an airworthy and safe aircraft, and that it had been designed in compliance with aviation regulations,” Avia said in its lawsuit, which was filed Monday in an Illinois court. Boeing is headquartered in the state. “Despite its representations and due to its negligent conduct, Boeing manufactured and designed an aircraft that was not safe for flight.”

The suit was first reported by the Financial Times. Boeing declined to comment Monday night to CNN Business about the lawsuit.

The delivery of 33 of the planes that Avia ordered was rescheduled last year, although the lawsuit does not make clear why. They are scheduled for delivery some time between 2022 and 2024, instead of between 2019 and 2022 as originally planned, according to court documents.

Avia now wants to cancel its order. The company asking for more than $115 million to account for losses and damages it says were caused by what it called Boeing’s “wrongful acts and omissions.” Avia is also seeking punitive damages.

The company’s 737 Max 8s were grounded in mid-March in the wake of the fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Boeing announced in May that it had finished the development of a software fix to the aircraft and had already flight tested it. The software, known as MCAS, will have to be reviewed by the FAA and air regulators worldwide who want to review it.

It’s still not clear when the plane will be allowed to return to service, but its CEO told CNBC in June that he believes the plane will be back in the air before the end of 2019.

“We’re committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need, and to getting it right. We’re making clear and steady progress and are confident that the 737 Max with updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement earlier this year.

Nearly 400 planes already in airline fleets have been grounded and Boeing has halted deliveries of the 737 Max, although it continues to build them.

Boeing says the aircraft is the fastest-selling airplane in its history. It has received about 5,000 orders from more than 100 customers around the world.

Boeing executives and executives at several major airlines have said they plan to reach an agreement on compensation for the groundings and for the delays in deliveries. Details of that compensation are not yet known, although Boeing has taken a $4.9 billion after-tax charge related to potential concessions and other considerations to its customers.

In its lawsuit, Avia claimed that Boeing made “false representations” to the US Federal Aviation Administration during the Max’s certification process. Avia also alleges that Boeing “downplayed and misrepresented” problems after a Max flown by the Indonesian carrier Lion Air crashed last year. Another Max flown by Ethiopian Airlines crashed several months later.

“As a result, and in reliance on Boeing’s misrepresentations regarding the airworthiness of the subject aircraft, Avia continued to abide by the terms” of its purchase agreement, according to court documents. Avia said it was “unable to make an informed decision” with regard to the way it did business with Boeing.

“We are committed to seeing this through, if necessary, to trial, to pursue not only our compensatory damages but also punitive damages given Boeing’s outrageous conduct,” said Steven Marks, an attorney representing Avia. Marks also represents more than 30 families of those who died in the two crashes. Boeing executives and executives at several major airlines have said they plan to reach an agreement on compensation for the groundings and for the delays in deliveries. Families of the 346 people killed in the two crashes have filed numerous lawsuits. Some pilots have sued too for lost pay because of the grounding. Boeing has announced a $100 million compensation fund for families of those killed in the crashes.

Last week, CNN reported that an international panel created after the two crashes was expected to recommend the FAA change the way it certifies planes, as well as address safety concerns that aircraft technology is becoming far more sophisticated than the regulations that govern it.

— CNN’s Chris Isidore, Rene Marsh and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Russian Company Files Lawsuit Against Boeing to Break Contract on 737 Max Jets – Reports

04:27 27.08.2019(updated 06:55 27.08.2019)

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russian leasing company Avia Capital Services filed a lawsuit against the Boeing aircraft manufacturer to break the contract on the delivery of 35 Boeing 737 Max jets, after the aircraft were grounded worldwide over flight stability concerns.

The Russian firm, a subsidiary of Russia’s Rostec state corporation, said that the two deadly plane crashes involving Boeing 737 Max jets happened because of “negligent actions and decisions of Boeing” both in designing the aircraft and “withholding critical information” from US aviation safety authorities, the Financial Times newspaper reported.

The lawsuit was reportedly filed at the Cook County circuit court in Chicago. The Russian company accuses Boeing of intentionally hiding sensitive safety information about the aircraft.

Avia Capital Services says it had given Boeing a cash deposit of $35 million as part of the order and asks that the money be returned, with interest, along with $75 million in lost profits. The total sum demanded by the company under the lawsuit amounts to $115 million.

Steven Marks, the lawyer of Avia Capital Services, told Financial Times that Boeing had offered compensation to the firm but it turned out to be inadequate.

“I think you will see a number of other operators filing suit in coming months. This will be the first of many to come,” Marks said.

Two Boeing 737 MAX planes crashed in less than a year: one in Indonesia in October 2018 and another in Ethiopia in March. In the wake of the latest crash, aviation authorities and carriers around the world either grounded the 737 MAX series aircraft or closed their airspace to them.

Investigations into the horrific tragedies are underway, but experts have identified an automated stall-prevention system, called MCAS, to be behind the crashes. MCAS commands automatically push down the jet’s nose in case of a critical angle of attack.

When the information coming from sensors is wrong, however, the actions pose a danger to the plane, as MCAS commands can overpower a pilot’s attempt to pull up the nose of the jet.

According to investigators, pilots of the crashed Ethiopian Airlines jet spent over four minutes before realizing that incorrect data from sensors was urging MACS to incorrectly push the nose down.

Podhurst Orseck’s Marks, Other Lawyers to Lead Ethiopian Airlines Crash Cases Against Boeing

Steven Marks will help lead the plaintiffs executive committee handling nearly 100 cases filed over the Ethiopian Airlines crash that led Boeing to ground its 737 Max 8 jet.

By Amanda Bronstad | September 17, 2019

Steven Marks, Podhurst Orseck. Photo: J. Albert Diaz

Steven Marks, Podhurst Orseck. Photo: J. Albert Diaz

Podhurst Orseck’s Steven Marks and two other attorneys with extensive experience in airline crash lawsuits will lead nearly 100 cases filed over the Ethiopian Airlines crash that led The Boeing Co. to ground its 737 Max 8 aircraft.

At a hearing Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso of the Northern District of Illinois said he would grant the plaintiffs’ motion to appoint Bob Clifford of Chicago’s Clifford Law Offices as lead counsel, according to Clifford. The judge also approved Marks of Miami and Justin Green of Kreindler & Kreindler in New York to lead the plaintiffs executive committee.

Clifford, whose previous cases include negotiating a $1.2 billion settlement for those with property damages from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, said the leadership team is considering adding more law firms in the coming days to the executive committee as well as a planned steering committee.

“That is under discussion as we speak,” Clifford said. “Anyone who steps up and is worthy and willing to serve and has something to add to the effort and discussion would likely be put on the steering committee.”

The leadership appointments set the stage for discovery to go forward even as Boeing has agreed to mediate lawsuits brought over last year’s crash of Lion Air, which killed 189 people on another 737 Max 8 aircraft over Indonesia.

Boeing has projected the Max 8 could be flying again in the fourth quarter, but regulators across the globe have given no timetable. Over the summer, Boeing announced it would pay $100 million to community groups and nonprofits to assist families of the victims of both Max 8 crashes.

The March 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 killed 157 people, but the discovery focuses on what Boeing knew following the Lion Air crash, Clifford said. He said the lawyers are working with Boeing on a protective order to be followed by executive depositions.

Marks, who will be in charge of legal issues, handled lawsuits over the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared over the Indian Ocean in 2014, the 2015 crash of a Germanwings aircraft over France, the ValuJet crash in the Everglades in 1996 and others dating back to 1985.

Marks did not respond to a request for comment. He brought a motion Friday to appoint the leadership team plus 10 other attorneys from the three firms to serve on the executive committee. One of them, Clifford associate Tracy Brammeier, would serve as liaison counsel.

Green will be in charge of discovery. His previous cases include representing victims of the Asiana Airlines crash in 2013 at San Francisco International Airport and the Malaysia Airlines jet disappearance.

“The first order of business is to examine the many thousands of pages of documents Boeing will produce during the coming weeks,” Green wrote in an email. “These will be internal Boeing documents, including safety analyses and communications.”

Alonso set the next hearing for Nov. 21.

Copyright 2019. ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved.

Longtime Plane Crash Atty Takes Lead In Ethiopian Air Suit

By Lauraann Wood

Law360 (September 17, 2019, 10:16 PM EDT) — An Illinois attorney who has represented victims of most major commercial airline crashes in the last 40 years was appointed Tuesday to lead a consolidated lawsuit seeking to hold the Boeing Co. liable for the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash.

Attorney Robert A. Clifford of Clifford Law Offices will take charge in the consolidated litigation, which includes 97 individual complaints filed since March over the disaster that killed 157 people, according to an announcement from Clifford’s representative. Clifford represents 47 of those plaintiffs. 

Serving on an executive committee in the litigation will be co-chairs Steven C. Marks of Podhurst Orseck PA and Justin T. Green of Kreindler & Kreindler LLP. Clifford Law’s Tracy A. Brammeier will be liaison counsel.

The case now turns to discovery. The plaintiffs plan to focus, in particular, on discovering what Boeing knew following the Oct. 29 Lion Air crash that involved one of the company’s 737 Max 8 planes and killed 189 people less than five months earlier than the March 10 Ethiopian Air crash, Clifford told Law360 Tuesday. The Ethiopian Air disaster also involved a Max 8 plane.

“Certainly, once the Lion Air crash occurred, you know doggone well that there was talk going on between Boeing and the [Federal Aviation Administration] in Washington, D.C., about grounding of the plane … or trying to explain what occurred,” he said. “That’s a matter of prime importance to all of the plaintiffs because we think it’s a major distinction between Lion Air and Ethiopian Air in terms of [proving] … the ET 302 crash was entirely preventable.”

Discovery will be consolidated among all of the plaintiffs, while damages will be individualized for each of those who lost their lives in the Ethiopian Air crash.

Clifford told Law360 he doesn’t expect the case to end in a settlement but in a courtroom showdown.

Boeing agreed Tuesday to go through voluntary mediation for families interested in talking settlement, but “there are families who feel very strongly about pursuing this case to the end against Boeing,” he said.

Clifford’s work in aviation litigation began in 1979, when he represented victims of an American Airlines plane crash caused by an engine that fell off the aircraft’s left wing shortly after takeoff. He told Law360 he also served as liaison counsel in litigation surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, plane attacks, and he was involved in litigating the cases that resulted from the 2009 Turkish Airline crash that killed nine passengers and crewmembers while landing in Amsterdam.

Clifford’s request to take charge in the case was unopposed.

Global aviation regulators grounded the Max 8 after the Ethiopian Air crash, but the FAA was the last to issue a grounding order.

The family of Rwandan citizen Jackson Musoni was the first to sue Boeing over the Ethiopian Air crash. Dozens of plaintiffs claim the Max 8 contained a defective flight stabilization system that Boeing knew about but hid from regulators and pilots in a rush to market the plane.

Boeing has answered the suits’ claims, saying in July that it is not responsible for the crash because it was caused by the actions of third parties over which the company had no control.

The suits also claim that technical experts with the FAA were pressed by higher-ups during the aircraft’s certification process to delegate more authority to Boeing, which was under pressure to bring the jet to the market as it competed with European rival Airbus.

The FAA has also come under intense scrutiny relating to its aircraft certification process since the Ethiopian Air and Lion Air crashes. FAA officials defended that process during a congressional hearing in July, saying it did not compromise safety when it handed some oversight to Boeing.

Boeing and the Ethiopian Air victims’ families are due back in court for a status hearing in November.

Representatives for Boeing did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment.

The plaintiffs are represented by Robert Clifford of Clifford Law Offices.

Boeing is represented by Bruce Duplan Campbell, Christopher Martin Ledford, Daniel Thomas Burley, Jonathan R. Buck, Mack Harrison Shultz Jr. and Michael E. Scoville of Perkins Coie LLP.

The case is In re: Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 Crash, case number 1:19-cv-02170, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

–Additional reporting by Dean Seal and Linda Chiem. Editing by Janice Carter Brown.

All Content © 2003-2019, Portfolio Media, Inc.

Leasing Co.’s $115M Suit Aims To Ax Boeing 737 Max Order

By Linda Chiem

Law360 (August 27, 2019, 4:37 PM EDT) — Boeing has been hit with a $115 million lawsuit alleging it misrepresented the safety of its 737 Max jets to aircraft leasing companies that were duped into inking multimillion-dollar contracts with the American aerospace giant, according to an Illinois state court lawsuit filed Monday.

Avia Capital Services LLC, a Russian aircraft leasing company, sued Boeing to cancel the rest of its contract for 35 of the now-grounded 737 Max 8 jets, which were to be delivered to Avia from March 2022 through December 2024.

According to the complaint, Boeing induced Avia to sign a purchase agreement for a sizable order of 737 Max jets by misrepresenting the new planes as safe, airworthy and designed in compliance with aviation regulations, when they, in fact, were  not.

“Due to Boeing’s own actions and negligence, the 737 Max 8 is defective in design and is unreasonably dangerous,” Avia says in the suit, adding that because of Boeing’s repeated misrepresentations, it “was unable to make an informed decision regarding its business dealings and transactions with Boeing.”

The 737 Max jets have been grounded since mid-March following two fatal crashes that have sparked scrutiny of Boeing’s design and engineering, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s aircraft certification process.

A Lion Air 737 Max 8 jet crashed in the Java Sea in October, killing 189 people, and an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 jet crashed on March 10, killing 157. Global aviation regulators grounded the 737 Max after the second crash, but the FAA was the last to issue a grounding order.

Boeing has already been hit with scores of lawsuits from victims’ families and consumers. Avia’s suit echoes claims in those suits that Boeing redesigned its 737 jets with larger heavier fuel-efficient jets that were set differently on the aircraft wings — more forward — affecting the balance and weight of the plane. The engine placement on the 737 Max jets created a nose-heavy problem that Boeing corrected by adding a special automated flight-control feature known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System for better handling and to prevent stalling.

The problem was that failure-prone sensors in the 737 Max could inadvertently trigger MCAS, which pushes the aircraft’s nose down if the jet’s angle-of-attack sensors indicate it has drifted too high. MCAS has been widely cited as a possible cause of both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Air crashes in preliminary findings from accident investigators. Boeing has said it’s working on finalizing a software fix for the MCAS problems, which likely won’t come until 2020. The FAA has maintained that the jets will only be cleared to fly again when they’re deemed safe.

Avia’s suit asserts claims for fraudulent inducement, breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and lists at least $115 million in losses and damages.

Avia’s lawyer Steven C. Marks of Podhurst Orseck PA told Law360 on Tuesday that they’re seeking compensatory damages greater than $120 million, plus much more in punitive damages.

Marks told Law360 that Avia had signed a contract for 85 Boeing jets, some of which Avia then leases to airlines including Aeroflot. Fifty of those jets were for other Boeing aircraft models that have already been delivered, but the remaining 35 jets were to be 737 Max jets, according to Marks.

“It’s now become clear from the outset that Boeing misrepresented and fraudulently induced Avia into entering into contract by falsely stating that this aircraft would be properly certificated and airworthy,” Marks said.

Instead of seeking a new type certificate for the 737 Max like it should have, Boeing “tried to short circuit” the FAA aircraft certification process, leading to two fatal crashes that have destroyed public confidence in the planes’ safety, Marks said.

“Had they known the truth about what Boeing did to circumvent proper regulatory procedures, they would never have entered into this contract,” Marks said.

A representative for Boeing declined to comment on the suit Tuesday.

Avia Capital Services is represented by Steve C. Marks and Kristina M. Infante of Podhurst Orseck PA and Brian Kent of Laffey Bucci & Kent LLP.

Counsel information for Boeing was not immediately available.

The case is Avia Capital Services LLC v. The Boeing Co., case number 2019-L-009427, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois County Department, Law Division.

–Editing by Peter Rozovsky.

Boeing sued by Russian aircraft leasing firm that alleges it hid 737 Max defects

ASSOCIATED PRESS | AUG 27, 2019 | 1:27 PM| MOSCOW

Employees work on Boeing 737

Employees work on Boeing 737 Max airplanes at the Boeing factory in Renton, Wash., on March 27, 2019. A Russian aircraft leasing company says it has filed a lawsuit against Boeing over an order of 35 Boeing 737 Max jets. (JASON REDMOND/Getty)

A Russian aircraft leasing company that ordered 35 Boeing Max jets is suing the U.S. aircraft-maker, accusing it of hiding defects in the plane that has been grounded after two deadly crashes.

The Miami-based lawyer for the leasing company said Tuesday it is the first lawsuit filed against Boeing by a Max customer. He said he is talking to other companies about joining the case.

The lawsuit on behalf of Avia Capital Services was filed Monday in state court in Illinois, where Boeing is based. It claims that Boeing committed fraud and breach of contract and was negligent in how it designed and built the plane and convinced the Federal Aviation Administration to approve it.

A spokesman for Boeing declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

Nearly 400 Max jets that were being flown by airlines around the world have been grounded since March, shortly after the second of two crashes that together killed 346 people.

Avia ordered Max jets in 2012 and was originally set to begin receiving them this year, but the deliveries were delayed. The company is seeking damages of at least $115 million, which attorney Steven Marks said included a $40 million deposit and $75 million in lost profit, plus punitive damages.

Marks, who also represents families of passengers who were killed in the two crashes, said he has talked to “several” other Max customers and expects some to join the Avia lawsuit. None are U.S. companies, he said.

Executives for Southwest, American and United have stood by Boeing through the Max ordeal.

Boeing lost $3 billion in the second quarter after taking a $4.9 billion after-tax charge to cover future costs of compensating airlines and other Max customers. Boeing is working to upgrade flight-control software implicated in the crashes, and expects the plane to be cleared to fly in November.

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Boeing Facing First MAX-Related Customer Lawsuit

A subsidiary of Russian state conglomerate Rostec files a U.S. lawsuit to cancel its order for 35 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes, another sign that Boeing’s customers are losing patience with ongoing delays in remedying the troubled jet.

  1. Corey Goldman

Updated Aug 27, 2019 9:48 AM EDT

A subsidiary of Russian state conglomerate Rostec has filed a U.S. lawsuit to cancel its order for 35 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes, another sign that Boeing’s customers are losing patience with ongoing delays in remedying the troubled jet.

According to the Financial Times, Avia Capital Services, a subsidiary of Rostec, gave Boeing a cash deposit of $35 million to secure the order of 35 737 MAX jets.

The complaint, which was filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago on Monday, claims that Boeing “intentionally” failed to disclose information about the airworthiness of the MAX to its customers, including Avia, in order to induce them to buy the aircraft, the Financial Times said.

However, an Avia spokesperson told Reuters on Tuesday that it is ready for an out-of-court settlement.

Boeing faces first lawsuit from 737 Max customer Russian aircraft leasing group Avia sues to cancel order for 35 of the grounded planes ft.com

Boeing faces first lawsuit from 737 Max customer
Russian aircraft leasing group Avia sues to cancel order for 35 of the grounded planes
ft.com

Steven Marks of Miami aviation-focused law firm Podhurst Orseck is representing Avia. He also is representing 30 families of victims of both the Lion Air crash in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy this past March which together killed 346 people.

Avia is claiming that two deadly crashes were due to the “negligent actions and decisions of Boeing” not just in designing a plane that was “defective” but also in “withholding critical information” from the U.S. aviation safety regulator during certification, according to the suit.

Meantime, the grounded MAX could be certified and back in service as early as October, according to recent reports.

Shares of Boeing were down just over 1% at $355.71 in early trading on Tuesday.

Boeing faces its first lawsuit from a 737 Max customer

Boeing 737 Max airplanes parked at a Boeing facility in Seattle. (David Ryder / Getty Images)

Boeing 737 Max airplanes parked at a Boeing facility in Seattle.
(David Ryder / Getty Images)

By SYLVIA PFEIFER AND PATTI WALDMEIRFINANCIAL TIMES 

AUG. 27, 2019

11:33 AM

A Russian aircraft leasing company is suing Boeing Co., claiming breach of contract in connection with its grounded 737 Max in the first lawsuit brought against the manufacturer by a customer over the safety crisis.

Avia Capital Services, a subsidiary of Russian state conglomerate Rostec, says that two deadly crashes that preceded the grounding of the 737 Max were due to the “negligent actions and decisions of Boeing.” Avia claims Boeing not only designed a plane that was “defective” but also withheld “critical information” from the U.S. aviation safety regulator during certification.

The complaint, which was filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago on Monday, claims that Boeing “intentionally” failed to disclose information about the airworthiness of the Max to its customers, including Avia, in order to induce them to buy the aircraft.

Avia ordered 35 Max 8 jets from Boeing before they were grounded worldwide in March, and now it wants the order canceled. The company says it gave Boeing a cash deposit of $35 million to secure the order, and is asking for that amount to be returned with interest, along with lost earnings, for a total of $115 million in compensatory damages, plus “several times the amount” in punitive damages.

Avia’s lawyer, Steven Marks of the Miami aviation law firm Podhurst Orseck, told the Financial Times in an interview that Boeing had offered compensation but it was inadequate. He said other Boeing customers had been in touch with him about bringing similar lawsuits. The Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer has been negotiating compensation deals with customers and it took a $4.9-billion charge in the second quarter for that purpose.

“I think you will see a number of other operators filing suit in coming months. This will be the first of many to come,” Marks said.

The lawyer is also representing 30 families of victims of both the Lion Air crash in October last year and the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy in March, which together killed 346 people. The fallout from those two crashes has damaged Boeing’s reputation and finances; the company posted its biggest quarterly loss in July.

Boeing declined to comment.

Even before the crashes, Avia and Boeing had agreed to delay delivery of 33 of the Max aircraft to the Russian company. Originally scheduled for delivery between October 2019 and February 2022, the orders were pushed back to between March 2022 and December 2024. The reason for the delay was not clear.

Although official investigations into the accidents are ongoing, an anti-stall system unique to the Max has been implicated. The system is designed to pitch the plane’s nose automatically down when it senses a stall is imminent, which it was found to have done repeatedly in both accidents. Boeing has been working on a software fix to ensure the system activates only once. It will also no longer be triggered by only one sensor.

Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s chief executive, said in April that the company had “followed exactly the steps in our design and certification processes that consistently produce safe airplanes.” The company has said it expects the Max to start returning to service “early in the fourth quarter.”

© The Financial Times Ltd. 2019. All Rights Reserved. FT and Financial Times are trademarks of the Financial Times Ltd. Not to be redistributed, copied or modified in any way.

Peter Prieto Inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers

MIAMI – September 17, 2019 – Miami-based litigation boutique Podhurst Orseck is pleased to announce that partner Peter Prieto has been inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (IATL). Mr. Prieto leads the commercial litigation and class action practice at Podhurst Orseck, which has served as lead counsel in several of the nation’s most significant class action and multidistrict litigation or MDL matters. The induction took place at the organization’s Mid-Year Meeting in Whitefish, Montana.

The International Academy of Trial Lawyers limits membership to a select group of 500 Fellows from the United States and nearly 40 countries around the world. The Academy honors those who have achieved a career of excellence through demonstrated skill and ability in jury trials, trials before the court and appellate practice. Only lawyers who have attained the highest level of advocacy and take part in a comprehensive screening process are invited to join.

“Peter’s recognition as a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers is a tribute to his achievements in the courtroom, his high ethical standards, and his tireless pursuit of excellence on behalf of clients,” said Podhurst Orseck partner Bob Josefsberg.

Bob Josefsberg and Founding Partner Aaron Podhurst have both served as past presidents of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Mr. Prieto becomes only the third lawyer at the 52-year-old Podhurst Orseck firm to become a Fellow of both the Academy, as well as the American College of Trial Lawyers, another invitation-only trial lawyers organization.

For more than 25 years, Peter has focused his practice on complex commercial litigation, including class actions and white-collar criminal defense. Peter currently serves as Plaintiffs’ Chair Lead Counsel overseeing both class actions and personal injury actions in the Takata Airbags Product Liability Litigation, which is considered the largest automotive defect case in United States history. Peter also serves as the only Florida Lawyer on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation. He also serves on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the Checking Account Overdraft Litigation and is Chair of the Experts Committee in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust MDL.

In addition to being inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Peter recently served as the Eleventh Circuit’s representative on the America Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. Peter is also a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and has been recognized by publications including Florida Trend Magazine, Chambers USA and Best Lawyers in America.

Peter received a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from St. Thomas University where he also is a current member of the Board of Trustees. He received his juris doctorate, cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law and serves on the Alumni Advisory Board of the University of Miami Law Review.

# # #

About Podhurst Orseck
Miami-based Podhurst Orseck, P.A., established over half a century ago, is a top-flight boutique trial and appellate firm focusing its practice on tort litigation matters including aviation, products liability, serious personal injury, and wrongful death claims, as well as complex commercial litigation and white-collar defense. Additionally, the firm has a strong appellate practice, handling appeals for its own attorneys and attorneys throughout the nation, in various state and federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. The firm has consistently received an AV-Rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the highest possible rating, based on legal ability and general ethical standards. For more information, please visit www.podhurst.com

Podhurst Orseck’s Marks, Other Lawyers to Lead Ethiopian Airlines Crash Cases Against Boeing

Steven Marks will help lead the plaintiffs executive committee handling nearly 100 cases filed over the Ethiopian Airlines crash that led Boeing to ground its 737 Max 8 jet.

By Amanda Bronstad | September 17, 2019

Steven Marks, Podhurst Orseck. Photo: J. Albert Diaz

Steven Marks, Podhurst Orseck. Photo: J. Albert Diaz

Podhurst Orseck’s Steven Marks and two other attorneys with extensive experience in airline crash lawsuits will lead nearly 100 cases filed over the Ethiopian Airlines crash that led The Boeing Co. to ground its 737 Max 8 aircraft.

At a hearing Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso of the Northern District of Illinois said he would grant the plaintiffs’ motion to appoint Bob Clifford of Chicago’s Clifford Law Offices as lead counsel, according to Clifford. The judge also approved Marks of Miami and Justin Green of Kreindler & Kreindler in New York to lead the plaintiffs executive committee.

Clifford, whose previous cases include negotiating a $1.2 billion settlement for those with property damages from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, said the leadership team is considering adding more law firms in the coming days to the executive committee as well as a planned steering committee.

“That is under discussion as we speak,” Clifford said. “Anyone who steps up and is worthy and willing to serve and has something to add to the effort and discussion would likely be put on the steering committee.”

The leadership appointments set the stage for discovery to go forward even as Boeing has agreed to mediate lawsuits brought over last year’s crash of Lion Air, which killed 189 people on another 737 Max 8 aircraft over Indonesia.

Boeing has projected the Max 8 could be flying again in the fourth quarter, but regulators across the globe have given no timetable. Over the summer, Boeing announced it would pay $100 million to community groups and nonprofits to assist families of the victims of both Max 8 crashes.

The March 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 killed 157 people, but the discovery focuses on what Boeing knew following the Lion Air crash, Clifford said. He said the lawyers are working with Boeing on a protective order to be followed by executive depositions.

Marks, who will be in charge of legal issues, handled lawsuits over the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared over the Indian Ocean in 2014, the 2015 crash of a Germanwings aircraft over France, the ValuJet crash in the Everglades in 1996 and others dating back to 1985.

Marks did not respond to a request for comment. He brought a motion Friday to appoint the leadership team plus 10 other attorneys from the three firms to serve on the executive committee. One of them, Clifford associate Tracy Brammeier, would serve as liaison counsel.

Green will be in charge of discovery. His previous cases include representing victims of the Asiana Airlines crash in 2013 at San Francisco International Airport and the Malaysia Airlines jet disappearance.

“The first order of business is to examine the many thousands of pages of documents Boeing will produce during the coming weeks,” Green wrote in an email. “These will be internal Boeing documents, including safety analyses and communications.”

Alonso set the next hearing for Nov. 21.

Copyright 2019. ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved.

Podhurst Orseck: Litigation Boutique With Focus on Class Actions, MDLs, Aviation

The Miami law firm is a small, tight-knit group of attorneys accustomed to playing on the national and international stage.

By Catherine Wilson | September 10, 2019 at 09:36 AM

Steve Marks and Peter Prieto, Podhurst Orseck

Steve Marks and Peter Prieto, Podhurst Orseck

Podhurst Orseck was founded in Miami more than half a century ago by two friends, Aaron Podhurst and Bobby Orseck. Podhurst was the trial lawyer, and Orseck handled the appellate work. Orseck tragically drowned in Israel in 1978. Podhurst, to this day, practices law full time.

From its founding in 1967, Podhurst Orseck has remained a firm of no more than 15 or so lawyers.  We are exclusively a trial and appellate litigation boutique. Over the years, Podhurst Orseck has attained a global reputation for representing the families of victims of aircraft accidents and a national reputation for doing high-stakes litigation in class action and mass tort, including multidistrict litigation.

Podhurst Orseck, on a day-to-day basis, is managed by Steve Marks and Peter Prieto with advice and counsel from Podhurst. But virtually every significant business decision is made with input from all of the partners and associates. For example, every lawyer has a say in the firm’s hiring decisions.

Though we are Miami-based, we have built a global practice that consistently competes with large firms around the world. Our attorneys routinely are involved in challenging and complex commercial litigation, aviation, class action, white collar defense, appellate and personal injury cases. For example:

  • We serve as lead counsel in the Takata air bag MDL, which has recovered $1.5 billion as part of the largest automotive recall in U.S. history,
  • We served on plaintiffs committees guiding the NFL concussion MDL, where a groundbreaking, uncapped settlement exceeding $1 billion was reached,
  • We served as class counsel in the nationwide force-placed insurance class action litigation, where settlements totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars were reached with financial institutions accused of placing high-priced homeowner insurance policies on mortgages in exchange for kickbacks from insurers,
  • We serve as lead counsel in the bank overdraft MDL, where the country’s largest banks paid in excess of $1 billion to settle claims of overcharging customers,
  • Our firm’s expertise in aviation litigation can be traced back to a single event — the 1972 crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401 in the Florida Everglades, which killed 101 people and injured dozens. We served as lead class counsel for the victims. Since then, Podhurst Orseck has represented victims in more than 150 crashes and air disasters, and have handled more plaintiffs aviation cases than any other law firm in the Southeast.
  • The firm represents dozens of families in the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Flight 302 airline crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max.
  • We serve on the plaintiff’s leadership committee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield MDL alleging the health insurer conspired to fix prices and allocate territories.

Firm: Podhurst Orseck

Firm leaders: Aaron S. Podhurst, founding partner; Steve C. Marks, managing partner; Peter Prieto, head of commercial litigation and class action practice

Head count: 16 attorneys, not including temporary or contract attorneys

Location: Miami

Practice areas: Trial and appellate litigation including aviation, personal injury, products liability, class actions and complex commercial litigation

Do you offer alternative fee arrangements? 

Yes. While alternative fee arrangements are a novel concept for most firms, they are fairly routine at Podhurst Orseck because more than half of our cases — both personal injury and commercial litigation — are contingency-fee based. Because of our familiarity with alternative fee arrangements, we are able to develop creative arrangements that align our firm’s interests with those of our clients. As a result, when our clients succeed, we succeed. Clients are attracted to this because while some firms pay lip service to alternative fee arrangements, we deal with them on a daily basis.

What do you view as the two biggest opportunities for your firm, and what are the two biggest threats?

One of the opportunities we have seen is the ability to partner with other law firms who may need either our expertise or resources to bring and prosecute a significant case. Our relationship with these firms is very important to us.

As a firm, we’ve also been open to taking calculated risks where we see opportunity for growth. One was handling overseas airline crash cases even as U.S. courts expressed a growing reluctance to hear them. Most aviation law firms were unwilling to represent victims of foreign crashes in U.S. or foreign courts. We decided it would be a challenge and perhaps a little risky, but worth it.

The decision helped position Podhurst Orseck as a go-to firm in the event of a crash anywhere in the world. We have the legal expertise, we have the experts, and we have the knowledge of the products. Now, people from all over the world call us when there’s an international accident, asking, “Would you be willing to get involved.” We’ve built a global network of partner law firms as a result.

One of our biggest threats concerns access to the courts. The broad application of the doctrine of forum non conveniens, for example, continues to deny access to U.S. courts to personal injury victims, including U.S. citizens. Similarly, the requirement in federal court that a complaint state a plausible claim has been interpreted by some courts so restrictively that sometimes a plaintiff is essentially required to prove — as opposed to simply allege — his case at the pleading stage without the benefit of any discovery.

Another significant threat is the constant narrowing by certain courts of the claims that our clients are able to bring to recover for their injuries. The class action device — though still found in the rule books in both federal and state law — continues to be whittled down and eliminated through arbitration clauses that are buried and no one ever reads.

The legal market is so competitive now — what trends do you see, and has anything, including alternative service providers, altered your approach?  Is your chief competition other mid-market firms, or is your firm competing against big firms for the same work?

The biggest trend we see is the importance of technology to deal with the large amount of e-discovery that is part of any sizable litigation. Artificial intelligence and technology assisted review, or TAR, is changing the way law firms deliver services in more efficient and effective ways. We have adapted to that trend by using TAR for key cases and by the strategic and temporary hiring of contract attorneys when a particular case requires it. That permits us to raise our overhead temporarily but only when necessary.

While the majority of our firm’s practice is focused on representing plaintiffs, particularly personal injury victims and consumers, a significant portion of it involves the representation of several key, corporate defendants, including local businesses, law firms and accounting firms. As a result, we compete not only with other litigation boutiques but in some cases with larger firms.

There is much debate around how law firms can foster the next generation of legal talent. What advantages and disadvantages do midsize firms have in attracting and retaining young lawyers, particularly millennials?

Over the years, we have had at least two significant advantages in attracting young talent.

First, is the reputation of Podhurst Orseck — built over half a century — for doing sophisticated and impactful legal work. In the unfortunate case that an aviation accident occurs anywhere in the world, Podhurst Orseck is very likely to receive a call by one or more of the victims’ family. This is not meant as a boast, but as fact.

Second is our emphasis that all of our lawyers get involved with their communities or their profession. We encourage this and have led by example, starting with Aaron Podhurst and Bob Josefsberg, both of whom are recognized for their community and nonprofit work as much as they are for their work in the courtroom. And that‘s why our lawyers, no matter their level, are involved in the arts, bar organizations, and educational and civic institutions. As a result, Podhurst Orseck as a brand resonates with younger attorneys as both an exceptional law firm to practice law and build a legal career at as well as a cause-related company engaged in community and issue advocacy.

The only difference that we may have from some larger firms is the lack of a formalized training program. We are simply not big enough and frankly don’t have the time for a so-called formal program. Instead, our more senior lawyers mentor and supervise our junior lawyers who learn — and learn fast — by handling hearings, taking depositions and participating in trials early on in their careers. Our junior lawyers receive as much responsibility as they can handle. We sometimes tend to describe it as “swim or swim” because sinking is not an option. But we believe that’s how young lawyers learn and, more importantly, grow as lawyers.

Does your firm employ any nonlawyer professionals in high-level positions (e.g. COO, business development officer, chief strategy officer, etc.)? If so, why is it advantageous to have a nonlawyer in that role? If not, have you considered hiring any?

We have one nonlawyer professional, our office administrator, Carole Curran, who has been with our firm for decades. Curran handles virtually all of the firm’s administrative responsibilities and, as they say, “makes the trains run on time.” She is assisted and supported by Victor Mas, who has been with our firm for years, and a team of support staff.

What would you say is the most innovative thing your firm has done recently, whether it be technology advancements, internal operations, how you work with clients, etc.?

After spending years in our office on Flagler Street in downtown Miami, we relocated to the nearby SunTrust building in 2017. The layout and design of our new space fosters openness and communication among the lawyers and staff, and is helping us achieve our goal of becoming a paperless office. The latter has been more difficult to accomplish than the former. Because our casework is global, we have also been making significant investments in litigation technology that allows our attorneys to work in a seamless and efficient manner, regardless of where they are traveling in service to clients.

Does your firm have a succession plan in place? If so, what challenges do you face in trying to execute that plan?

Podhurst Orseck has a succession plan dictated by our lawyers, all of whom come from different generations. It starts with our founder, Podhurst, who along with Josefsberg and Joel Eaton, are senior partners who still enjoy and remain quite active in the practice of law. It is followed by Marks who was mentored by Podhurst and heads our personal injury and aviation practice, and Prieto, a former law school classmate of Marks, who joined the firm a decade ago and heads our firm’s class action and commercial litigation practice.

In addition to Marks and Prieto, we have a group of very talented partners, all of whom handle personal injury, commercial litigation and appeals. These include Ricardo Martinez-Cid, a former president of the Cuban American Bar Association, and Stephen Rosenthal, a former law clerk to Circuit Judge Rosemary Barkett, as well as John Gravante and Ramon Rasco. Each of these attorneys has gained valuable mentorship from our senior partners during their time with the firm, and they continually transfer their expertise to their younger peers.

Our rising stars include partners Lea Bucciero and Matthew Weinshall, associates Alissa Del Riego and Kristina Infante as well as several staff attorneys, virtually all of whom came to our firm after completing federal clerkships at the district or appellate court level. We feel that with this blend of experience and younger talent, our future is very bright.

We’ve been the same size for the past 40 years. The reason is that if you get too big, you lose control, and there is a drop off in quality. You also don’t know who your partners are, and you don’t even know their wives and husbands and kids. We are a family at our firm in large part because of our family-like structure — that comes from our small size and culture.

Catherine Wilson

Catherine Wilson Catherine Wilson is managing editor of the Daily Business Review. Contact her at cwilson@alm.com. On Twitter at @cmwalm

Florida Trend 500 – Aaron Podhurst

Podhurst Orseck is a specialty trial and appellate litigation firm. It serves as general litigation counsel to several major corporations. Click here to read more Florida Trend 500 – Aaron Podhurst

The 737 Max has ‘no value’ after 2 deadly crashes as passengers no longer trust the plane, the lawyer for an aviation firm suing Boeing says

Sinead Baker Aug 31, 2019 5:07 AM

Undelivered Boeing 737 Max planes are parked idly in a Boeing property in Seattle, Washington, on August 13, 2019.

Undelivered Boeing 737 Max planes are parked idly in a Boeing property in Seattle, Washington, on August 13, 2019. David Ryder/Getty Images

⦁ A lawyer representing an aircraft leasing company suing Boeing says the 737 Max no longer has any “no value” after two deadly crashes undermined customer confidence in the plane.
⦁ Avia Capital Services, an aircraft leasing company, is suing Boeing, claiming that it intentionally misled customers and regulators about the safety of the plane, and wants a refund for the 35 Max planes it ordered.
⦁ Steven Marks, one of company’s lawyers told Business Insider: “The public doesn’t have any trust in it, the client can’t use it.”
⦁ The planes are yet to be delivered to Avia, but their arrival after the 737 Max is un-grounded would be “unwanted at this point,” Marks said.
⦁ Polls have demonstrated public mistrust in the plane, even as Boeing is working on updates that global regulators will examine before the plane returns.
An aircraft leasing company suing Boeing thinks the 737 Max planes now have “no value” because of their safety record and fears among passengers fears, a lawyer representing the company told Business Insider.
Steven Marks, a lawyer representing Avia Capital Services, told Business Insider that the company no longer wants to take delivery of its order of 737 Max jets, thanks to flaws uncovered in Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Authority’s’ testing of the plane, and passenger mistrust of the jet.
“The public doesn’t have any trust in it, the client can’t use it. It has no value to them,” he said.
The company is now suing Boeing for hundreds of millions in damages, and wants to cancel its order for 35 Max planes, with a refund. The exact amount Avia is suing for has not been disclosed publicly.
Marks said that Avia is dealing with the same delays in Max plane deliveries that are facing the entire industry, and that the company would no longer welcome the arrival of the planes they ordered.

Investigators look at the debris from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max plane in March 2019.

Investigators look at the debris from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max plane in March 2019. Jemal Countess/Getty Images

“Deliveries have been postponed and may never occur. I mean, if they were to occur, it would be unwanted at this point.”
Avia, a Russian company that buys and leases planes to airlines like Aeroflot, is now suing Boeing, claiming the company intentionally misled customers and regulators about the airworthiness of the plane.
The lawsuit, seen by Business Insider, claims that “the death of 346 individuals combined with the continued grounding of the 737 Max with no foreseeable future has completely deteriorated public trust in the 737 Max 8 and has rendered it useless.”
At the time of publication, Boeing had not responded to a request for comment from Business Insider on the lawsuit.
The planes have been grounded around the world since March, when a second deadly crash by one of the planes killed 157 people on an Ethiopian Airlines flight. The first crash, a Lion Air flight in Indonesia in October 2018, killed 189 people.
A June poll found that 41% of Americans would not want to fly on the plane until it was safely back in service for at least six months.
Some airlines have said they will allow customers who do not wish to fly on a Max plane to switch flights free of charge when the plane returns.

Undelivered Boeing 737 Max planes sit idle at a Boeing property in Seattle, Washington, in August 2019. David Ryder/Getty Images

The lawsuit states that “flyers have a good reason to lack confidence” in the plane, saying: “Boeing continues to be unable to fix the extensive defects in the 737 Max aircraft.”
Boeing is currently working on updates to the plane, which will allow it to return to service when approved by regulators. Boeing has repeatedly said that it will be the safest plane ever to fly when it returns.
The company has completed the update meant to address the software issue that arose in both crashes, but new issues discovered with the plane have delayed its return to service.
The lawsuit, filed in Chicago on Monday, is claiming fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing against Boeing.
It claims that Boeing “manufactured and designed an aircraft that was not safe for flight.”

Shoes of passengers of Lion Air flight JT610 were laid out at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta. REUTERS/Beawiharta

Avia’s lawsuit alleges that Boeing misrepresented the plane to the FAA when it was being tested for certification, and that “due to Boeing’s own actions and negligence the 737 Max 8 is defective in design and is unreasonably dangerous” to fly.
Avia is asking for $115 million in damages — made up of $75 million in lost profits and $40 million in expenses from advance payments to Boeing — as well as “several times” that amount in punitive damages. The total amount it is asking for is not publicly known.

Most airlines are sticking with Boeing and the Max, but they want compensation as they suffer its fallout

Large numbers of major airlines have continued to express public confidence in Boeing and the Max planes, but many are seeking compensation from the company as they have been forced to cancel flights, face delays to plane orders, and had to pay to maintain and store the planes during the ground.

Grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are parked on the tarmac after being grounded, at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California, as the airline waits for the plane to return to service. MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Airlines have cancelled hundreds of flight, some have cut routes, and others are cutting staff members over the grounding of the Max, which has stretched on longer than the industry expected. The grounding could now extend into 2020.
Boeing has received no new orders for the Max since the second crash, underscoring worries about its airworthiness.
A lack of interest threatens Boeing’s standing as the top aircraft manufacturer. The result is that it gradually being overtaken in deliveries by Airbus, its European rival, and could lose its title as the world’s largest planemaker as a result.
Saudi Arabian airline Flyadeal canceled an order of up to $6 billion for 50 Max planes in July, while Indonesian airline Garuda said in March that it wanted to cancel its order as customers had “lost confidence to fly” in the plane.

Get the latest Boeing stock price here.

Avia Files 737 Max Breach of Contract Lawsuit Against Boeing

by Charles Alcock

– August 27, 2019, 11:44 AM

Aviation International News

A Boeing 737 Max operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air crashed in October 2018, killing all passengers and crew.

Russian aircraft leasing company Avia Capital Services has begun a breach of contract lawsuit against Boeing over its order for thirty-five 737 Max airliners. In a case filed on August 26 with the Cook County district court near Boeing’s Chicago headquarters, Avia is demanding the return of the $35 million deposit it paid (with interest). It is also seeking $75 million in compensation for profits that it says will be lost as a consequence of severe disruption in deliveries in the wake of two fatal accidents involving the 737 Max, plus significant punitive damages.

Miami-based aviation law firm Podhurst Orseck, which is representing Avia, is arguing that Boeing knowingly misrepresented the steps necessary to safely bring the new 737 Max into commercial service. In view of the significant changes in aerodynamics, weight, and systems compared to earlier versions of the 737, it claims that the U.S. manufacturer should have taken the Max through a completely new type certification process that would have resulted in the need for type-specific training for pilots.

“We’re seeking damages for fraud and misrepresentation because Boeing intentionally misrepresented that it was going to provide a properly certified and airworthy aircraft,”

Podhurst Orseck partner Steven Marks told AIN. “Boeing knew what the situation was at the time it signed the contract [with Avia] and it knowingly misrepresented the facts.”

In the wake of two fatal accidents involving 737 Max aircraft operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines, the value of the aircraft and public trust in Boeing have significantly declined, he said. This in turn has left customers like Avia facing significant losses and diminished commercial opportunity. Boeing has refused to return deposits placed by Avia and other airlines and lessors.

Marks indicated that he expects more 737 Max customers to file similar lawsuits in the coming weeks. Podhurst Orseck, which is also representing some families who lost relatives in the accidents, is in discussions with several companies that have aircraft on order.

Over and above legal action by customers, Boeing is now facing multiple lawsuits from shareholders and the families of passengers killed in the accidents. “Boeing is trying to get its hands around how to move forward,” said Marks. “Will they do the right thing and pursue full type certification, with new training and manuals for pilots, or will they keep pushing the FAA for all sorts of freedom from proper oversight? There is a lot of international pressure for them to do the right thing, but in the U.S. we have a [federal] administration that doesn’t believe in the regulatory functions of government and this is critically needed.”

Podhurst Orseck is hopeful that the discovery phase of the trial will proceed quite quickly and that the Cook County court may start hearing the case within eight to 12 months.

Avia had been due to start taking delivery of its 737 Max aircraft in October 2019, but, before the two accidents, this had already been pushed back to March 2022. The leasing company, which is part of the Russian government-backed Rostec group, had already taken delivery of another 50 Boeing aircraft.

Russia’s Rostec unit ready for out-of-court deal with Boeing on 737 MAX order

BUSINESS NEWS

AUGUST 27, 2019 / 2:08 AM

Gleb StolyarovTom Balmforth

2 MIN READ

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A unit of Russian conglomerate Rostec said on Tuesday it was ready for an out-of-court settlement with Boeing (BA.N) over its order for 35 Boeing (BA.N) 737 MAX jets, a spokesman for Rostec’s subsidiary Avia Capital Service told Reuters.

Boeing MAX 737 jets have been grounded worldwide and airlines are cancelling multimillion contracts following crashes in October and March that killed 346 people.

Earlier on Tuesday, Rostec said its unit had filed a lawsuit in the United States to cancel its order for the 35 MAX jets. The Financial Times, which first reported the move, said Avia Capital Service gave Boeing a cash deposit of $35 million (£29 million).

A spokesman for Avia Capital Service told Reuters that delivery of the jets was first scheduled for October 2019 but was moved to March 2022. The Rostec unit had paid Boeing a deposit and was suffering losses from non-delivery, he said.

“If Boeing executives show a good will, we are ready to hold talks and find a mutually-beneficial out-of-court settlement for compensation of the losses we have suffered,” he said.

He added that the jets were ordered for a number of Russian air companies, including domestic low-cost firm Pobeda, a unit of the state carrier Aeroflot (AFLT.MM).

Russia is mainly using Boeing and Airbus (AIR.PA) jets for passenger flights, with a number of domestic airlines also adding Russian-made regional Sukhoi Superjet aircraft to their fleets.

The Rostec subsidiary now wants the deposit to be returned by Boeing with interest, along with $75 million in “lost profit” and about $115 million in compensatory damages, plus “several times the amount” in punitive damages, the FT said.

Rostec declined to provide further details about the lawsuit.

Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; writing by Anton Kolodyazhnyy and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips/Katya Golubkova and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Boeing customer files lawsuit to cancel Max jet order

By Ken Martin Published August 27, 2019 StocksFOXBusiness

A Russian aircraft leasing group is reportedly suing to cancel its order of Boeing Max jets.

Avia wants to cancel its order for 35 of the grounded Boeing jets, according to the Financial Times.

The aircraft leasing company is suing for breach of contract and is filing the first lawsuit against Boeing by a customer over safety issues.

Avia Capital Services, claims two deadly crashes were due to the “negligent actions and decisions of Boeing” and not just in designing a plane that was “defective.” The suit also says Boeing withheld critical information from the US aviation safety regulator during certification, according to the report in the FT.

Avia had placed an order for 35 Max 8 jets from before the planes were grounded worldwide in March.

Boeing has been negotiating compensation deals with customers and forcing the company to take a $4.9 billion charge in the second quarter.

Russian firm sues Boeing over Max jet, open to settlement

Associated Press•August 27, 2019

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian aircraft leasing company says it has filed a lawsuit against Boeing over an order of 35 Boeing 737 Max jets, but that it’s open to a settlement.

Avia Capital Services told the state-owned Tass news agency Tuesday that it has brought the lawsuit against Boeing in the United States, accusing it of failing to disclose the information about the jets’ “defects.”

Nearly 400 Max jets that were being flown by airlines around the world have been grounded since March, shortly after the second of two crashes that together killed 346 people.

Avia told Tass that Boeing had pushed back the delivery date from October to March next year. It said it is willing to sit down for talks with Boeing and settle out of court.

A Russian company is the first customer to sue Boeing over its 737 Max planes

By Rob McLean, CNN Business

Updated 10:00 AM ET, Tue August 27, 2019

New York (CNN Business)A Russian company that leases aircraft is suing Boeing over the plane maker’s grounded 737 Max 8 jets. It is the first Boeing customer to sue over the grounding.

Avia, which agreed several years ago to buy 35 of the planes, claims Boeing (BA) breached the contract by misrepresenting how safe the plane was to fly, and alleges it put profits ahead of safety, as it competed with rival Airbus for market share.

Boeing “represented that the 737 Max 8 was an airworthy and safe aircraft, and that it had been designed in compliance with aviation regulations,” Avia said in its lawsuit, which was filed Monday in an Illinois court. Boeing is headquartered in the state. “Despite its representations and due to its negligent conduct, Boeing manufactured and designed an aircraft that was not safe for flight.”

The suit was first reported by the Financial Times. Boeing declined to comment Monday night to CNN Business about the lawsuit.

The 737 Max crisis could destroy Boeing’s plans for the 797

The delivery of 33 of the planes that Avia ordered was rescheduled last year, although the lawsuit does not make clear why. They are scheduled for delivery some time between 2022 and 2024, instead of between 2019 and 2022 as originally planned, according to court documents.

Avia now wants to cancel its order. The company asking for more than $115 million to account for losses and damages it says were caused by what it called Boeing’s “wrongful acts and omissions.” Avia is also seeking punitive damages.

The company’s 737 Max 8s were grounded in mid-March in the wake of the fatal crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Boeing announced in May that it had finished the development of a software fix to the aircraft and had already flight tested it. The software, known as MCAS, will have to be reviewed by the FAA and air regulators worldwide who want to review it.

It’s still not clear when the plane will be allowed to return to service, but its CEO told CNBC in June that he believes the plane will be back in the air before the end of 2019.

“We’re committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need, and to getting it right. We’re making clear and steady progress and are confident that the 737 Max with updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement earlier this year.

Nearly 400 planes already in airline fleets have been grounded and Boeing has halted deliveries of the 737 Max, although it continues to build them.

Boeing says the aircraft is the fastest-selling airplane in its history. It has received about 5,000 orders from more than 100 customers around the world.

Boeing executives and executives at several major airlines have said they plan to reach an agreement on compensation for the groundings and for the delays in deliveries. Details of that compensation are not yet known, although Boeing has taken a $4.9 billion after-tax chargerelated to potential concessions and other considerations to its customers.

In its lawsuit, Avia claimed that Boeing made “false representations” to the US Federal Aviation Administration during the Max’s certification process. Avia also alleges that Boeing “downplayed and misrepresented” problems after a Max flown by the Indonesian carrier Lion Air crashed last year. Another Max flown by Ethiopian Airlines crashed several months later.

“As a result, and in reliance on Boeing’s misrepresentations regarding the airworthiness of the subject aircraft, Avia continued to abide by the terms” of its purchase agreement, according to court documents. Avia said it was “unable to make an informed decision” with regard to the way it did business with Boeing.

“We are committed to seeing this through, if necessary, to trial, to pursue not only our compensatory damages but also punitive damages given Boeing’s outrageous conduct,” said Steven Marks, an attorney representing Avia. Marks also represents more than 30 families of those who died in the two crashes. Boeing executives and executives at several major airlines have said they plan to reach an agreement on compensation for the groundings and for the delays in deliveries. Families of the 346 people killed in the two crashes have filed numerous lawsuits. Some pilots have sued too for lost pay because of the grounding. Boeing has announced a $100 million compensation fund for families of those killed in the crashes.

Last week, CNN reported that an international panel created after the two crashes was expected to recommend the FAA change the way it certifies planes, as well as address safety concerns that aircraft technology is becoming far more sophisticated than the regulations that govern it.

— CNN’s Chris Isidore, Rene Marsh and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Yes, There’s An Attorney Behind Actor Morgan Freeman’s Ads for Air Bag Recall

The Podhurst Orseck litigator has served as lead counsel in the multidistrict litigation over the defective vehicle safety parts. He and settlement administrator Patrick Juneau remain concerned that many drivers are still operating vehicles with Takata air bags.

By Zach Schlein | August 20, 2019 Peter Prieto, with Podhurst Orseck. Photo: J. Albert Diaz/ALM.

Peter Prieto, the Podhurst Orseck partner who helped litigate the largest automotive recall in U.S. history, has a connection to a new advertising featuring Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman.

His work and others helped lead to a new consumer awareness campaign that launched in August, featuring Freeman.

The spots, which have been airing on radio, television and digital platforms, see the “Seven” actor ask viewers to check if their automobiles have been recalled for dangerous air bags. They point to a website, SafeAirbags.com, which provides a list of vehicle manufacturers, makes and models that carry Takata air bags impacted by the recall.

The ads are the result of settlements with automakers in multidistrict litigation over air bags manufactured by Takata Corp., whose faulty equipment left car accident victims with additional injuries they otherwise would not have suffered.

Prieto was lead counsel in the multidistrict litigation.

“What was unique was a significant portion of the settlement funds were to be used for outreach,” he said, because millions of recalled air bags remain on the road.

According to the Associated Press, at least 24 deaths and 200 injuries have been tied to Takata’s defective air bags. A December 2018 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said as of October 2018, nearly 17 million Takata air bag inflators subject to the recall had not been repaired, and 10 million more models were expected to be added to the recall list.

The legal action, which was brought against nearly all automakers and represented more than 40 million plaintiffs, sought financial compensation for those who suffered monetary losses or incurred expenses because of the recall.

Over the last three years, Prieto and his co-counsel have secured $1.5 billion in settlement awards from car manufacturers who used Takata’s vehicle safety equipment in their products. This includes Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and BMW.

The attorney said the scope of the recall required the parties to utilize “nontraditional, creative ways” to reach drivers who might be unaware they’re driving with Takata air bags.

“In the past … automakers just sent out emails, or even letters,” Prieto said. “What would happen is people would simply look at letters and toss them out.”

Prieto credited the litigation’s settlement administrator, Patrick Juneau of Juneau David, with formulating a means of meaningfully alerting consumers to the dangers their car may pose. Juneau, who’s based out of Lafayette, Louisiana, and was appointed by U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno to the case, said he’s aware customers often ignore warnings posed by public awareness campaigns.

“We are trying to cut through that noise and capture the attention of those affected in creative ways, and there is no voice more iconic or authoritative or trustworthy than Mr. Freeman’s,” Juneau said in a statement. He said Freeman “immediately saw the importance of the campaign” and was partly motivated by the millions of people it stood to affect.

“His captivating voice and demeanor and delivery immediately captures the attention of a wide range of consumers across the country, and therefore is more [to] likely raise greater awareness and understanding across a broader grouping of people regarding this urgent safety recall,” Juneau added.

Prieto said the settlement and ensuing campaign has resulted in a unique degree of collaboration between the plaintiffs, the settlement administrators and the defendants. However, he asserted long-term work still remains in not only ensuring customer’s safety, but in the courtroom as well.

“We are still litigating, and that litigation is pending against General Motors, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Fiat Chrysler,” Prieto said. “We’re going to continue to litigate with them until there is either a trial or resolution. We’re simply going to press forward and make sure we obtain relief for our class members as we got with the previous class members. And if it’s by trial or settlement, so be it.”

Podhurst Orseck Joins Stalking Suit Against Actor Danny Masterson, Scientology Church

Miami attorneys Ricardo Martinez-Cid and Lea Bucciero are collaborating with Philadelphia lawyer Brian Kent of Laffey, Bucci, & Kent and others in pursuing claims against the Hollywood actor and church.

By Zach Schlein | August 16, 2019 Ricardo M. Martinez-Cid, Podhurst Orseck, P.A. Photo: J. Albert Diaz

Two Miami lawyers are providing counsel in an invasion-of-privacy and stalking complaint against the Church of Scientology and “That ’70s Show” actor Danny Masterson.

Podhurst Orseck litigators Ricardo Martinez-Cid and Lea Bucciero are part of the multifirm team representing plaintiffs who purport to have endured physical and emotional distress at the hands of Masterson and the organization. A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County alleges Masterson sexually assaulted plaintiff Chrissie Carnell Bixler and two women whose names are withheld.

The complaint also contends the Church of Scientology has organized long-term harassment campaigns against the women in order to silence, intimidate and stop them from speaking out about their alleged interactions with Masterson. The suit characterized the actor as having been “born into Scientology.”

Martinez-Cid said he anticipates additional lawsuits against the Church of Scientology in Florida, New York, California and around the country. He said he and Bucciero were brought onto the case by Philadelphia-based attorney and Laffey, Bucci & Kent partner Brian Kent.

The Podhurst Orseck partner described Kent as a close friend, who has worked on behalf of sexual abuse victims as both a prosecutor and a private attorney.

“When [Kent] called Lea and me to ask whether we would join in the fight to hold to The Church of Scientology accountable for the abuses that have occurred, we were eager,” said Martinez-Cid, who added that his team has interviewed dozens allegedly victimized by Scientology. “We are proud to represent these individuals brave enough to come forward.”

Kent returned the compliment. In an emailed statement, he described the Podhurst Orseck attorneys’ contribution to the case as “essential.”

“Podhurst Orseck has established itself as one of the top law firms in the country, dedicated to fighting for the rights of those who have been victimized by corporations and institutions,” Kent said. “Having personally known Ricardo Martinez-Cid and Lea Bucciero for years, both professionally and as close, personal friends, I have seen their talents shine through in their work as well as their commitment and dedication to exposing abuses within organizations like Scientology.”

The Church of Scientology is being represented by Scheper Kim & Harris attorney William Forman. The Los Angeles-based lawyer said the lawsuit is “ludicrous and a sham.”

“This baseless lawsuit will go nowhere,” Forman said in an emailed statement. The attorney contended the plaintiffs are pawns in a moneymaking scam by actress Leah Remini, a former Scientologist and outspoken critic of the organization.

Masterson’s lawyer, Lavely & Singer attorney Andrew Brettler, provided the Daily Business Review with a statement from his client calling the suit “beyond ridiculous.”

“I’m not going to fight my ex-girlfriend in the media like she’s been baiting me to do for more than two years,” Masterson said. “Once her lawsuit is thrown out, I intend to sue her and the others who jumped on the bandwagon for the damage they caused me and my family.”

Seven Podhurst Orseck Attorneys Named 2020 Best Lawyers

Podhurst Orseck is pleased to announce that seven of its attorneys have been recognized in the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America by U.S. News & World Report. Our firm’s highly experienced attorneys focus their practice on litigation matters including aviation, products liability, serious personal injury, wrongful death claims, as well as complex commercial litigation, white collar defense, and more. Additionally, the firm has a strong appellate practice, handling appeals for its own attorneys and attorneys throughout the nation, in various state and federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court.The following Podhurst Orseck attorneys were recognized by Best Lawyers:

  • Aaron S. Podhurst – Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation & Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Robert C. Josefsberg – Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: General Practice & Criminal Defense: White Collar
  • Joel D. Eaton – Appellate Practice, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation & Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Steven C. Marks – Criminal Defense: White-Collar & Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Peter Prieto – Commercial Litigation, Corporate Compliance Law, Criminal Defense: General Practice & Criminal Defense: White Collar
  • Stephen F. Rosenthal – Appellate Practice & Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Ricardo M. Martinez-Cid – Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

Best Lawyers is one of the oldest and most respected peer-review publications in the legal profession. Recognition in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers. Its list of outstanding lawyers is compiled by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers, and if votes for a lawyer are positive enough for recognition, that lawyer then must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain in each edition.

Families of 737 Max crash victims say Boeing has not contacted them, offered support, or apologized since the disasters

  • Several families of the victims of the two Boeing 737 Max crashes say Boeing has not contacted them to offer support, condolences, or an apology.
  • Boeing has apologized publicly, but the father of a woman killed in one of the crashes says “a true apology is when you sit across the table together and exchange sentiment — at the very least.”
  • One aviation lawyer said that while it’s not unusual for a plane manufacturer not to apologize after a crash, he did not think an apology would hurt Boeing’s legal standing.
  • Boeing told Business Insider it “extends our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families and loved ones” on the planes. It did not respond to a question about why it had not spoken with families directly.

Families of those killed in two fatal crashes involving Boeing 737 Max planes say they have not received any contact from Boeing since the disasters, with no apology or offer of support from the manufacturer.

The parents of a woman killed on one of the flights told Business Insider they had received “no condolences” and “no direct communication” from Boeing despite numerous public apologies by the plane maker and said Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg “talks to other people but not us, the victims’ families.”

Nadia Milleron and Michael Stumo lost their 24-year-old daughter, Samya Stumo, when the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed in March, killing all 157 people on board.

Read more: US aviation officials say they found a new potential risk with the Boeing 737 Max plane that could delay its return to service

It was the second crash of a 737 Max plane in five months after a Max 8 operated by the Indonesian carrier Lion Air crashed in the Java Sea in October, killing all 189 people on board.

Investigations into both crashes have centered on a software issue that Boeing has since been working to fix, with all its Max aircraft grounded around the world in the meantime.

Other attorneys representing more than 50 families of those killed in the crashes told Business Insider their clients’ experience was the same.

The Chicago-based aviation attorney Joe Power, the Los-Angeles based attorney Brian Kabateck, and the Miami-based attorney Steve Marks said Boeing had not reached out to their clients.

Marks said that this response was not “unusual” from manufacturers after a crash, but he described Boeing’s reaction as “worse” than a typical response.

He said Boeing “came out really quickly after the second tragedy, and said: ‘We own it, it’s our problem.'”

But then, he said, the company “has since backed those comments off, in many different ways, which I think has only inflamed the situation, as far as the families are concerned.”

Read more: ‘I could never live with myself’: The parents of a Boeing 737 Max victim explain why they chose to campaign to prevent another disaster, rather than ‘go to bed’ and grieve

Mike Danko, an aviation attorney who is not representing any families in the 737 Max crashes, told Business Insider that Boeing’s action in this case were “not unusual” and that manufacturers typically did not apologize or offer support after fatal plane crashes, but he noted its public apologies.

In a statement to Business Insider, Boeing said it “extends our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families and loved ones of those onboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610.”

It said it was “cooperating fully with the investigating authorities.”

Boeing did not address Business Insider’s question about why it had not spoken with families directly.

Boeing has repeatedly publicly apologized for the crashes. Its CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, first apologized in a Boeing video in April, three weeks after the second crash. In the video, he said that the company was “sorry for the lives lost” and that the “tragedies continue to weigh heavily on our hearts and mind.”

During that statement Muilenburg also said Boeing was working to update the plane to ensure that no similar crashes ever occurred again.

Read more: After a nightmare year, Boeing made an unexpected success of the world’s biggest air show, avoiding a humiliation by its archrival Airbus

Muilenburg apologized publicly to the victims in May, saying Boeing was “sorry for the loss of lives in both accidents” and “sorry for the impact to the families and loves ones that are behind.”

He also said the company did not implement software to the plane “correctly.”

And at the Paris Air Show in June, Muilenburg said Boeing “made a mistake” in handling the system and said Boeing’s communication was “not acceptable.”

Milleron and Stumo told Business Insider that Muilenburg “never apologized for killing our daughter.”

Stumo said Boeing “put a camera in Muilenburg’s face,” referring to his video apology in April.

“A true apology is when you sit across the table together and exchange sentiment — at the very least.”

Milleron said the apology needed to say: “I did this wrong thing to you and I am sorry. I regret this specific wrong that I did to you.”

Read more: It looks like the return of the Boeing 737 Max has been delayed again, and it could still be months until it’s allowed back in the air

“That’s an actual apology,” she said. “If they just say they are sorry to a camera, not to the actual persons that they’ve harmed, that is not an apology at all.

“I don’t understand how he could possibly think so, and I don’t think the American people see that as an actual apology.”

More families did come forward to sue Boeing after the company’s first apology in April, but Danko said apologizing or offering support to the families was unlikely to harm the company’s legal position.

“If anything, an apology can lead lower settlements, especially in cases involving death,” he said.

Boeing did not respond to Business Insider’s question about whether it thought apologizing to families directly would harm its legal strategy, and it said it would not comment on the lawsuits directly.

Danko said Boeing could offer condolences and support to families without offering a full apology by saying something like: “We’re so sorry for what happened and for the unspeakable loss you’ve experienced. We haven’t yet gotten to the bottom of what happened but are committed to doing so. We want to make sure that no one else has to go through what you’re going through now. We will not rest and our plane will not fly again until we’re 100% convinced of that.”

Read more: Pilots have joined a growing number of airlines in demanding payback from Boeing for its 737 Max disasters — here’s the full list

Boeing has been working with regulators as the US Federal Aviation Administration prepares to examine its updated software for the plane. The software needs to be approved before the plane can fly again.

Boeing has also been in contact with airlines since the crashes as they await the plane’s return and as some ask for compensation.

Muilenburg said in June that Boeing was “going to be working with all of our customers around the world to make things right” and that the company was working with them “individually customer by customer.”

Boeing Pledges $100 Million to Families, Communities Hurt by 737 MAX Crashes

By  Andrew Tangel

Boeing Co. BA 0.08% pledged $100 million in financial support to families and communities affected by two fatal crashes of its 737 MAX plane, as the company works to restore a reputation shaken by the tragedies.

The Chicago-based plane maker said the funds would cover costs including living expenses for families, community development and education efforts.

The move comes while Boeing is in talks to settle legal claims with the families of dozens of victims of the Lion Air crash in waters near Jakarta last October and another fatal MAX accident in Ethiopia in March. The two crashes claimed the lives of all 346 people on the two flights, and led to the global grounding of 737 MAX planes.

“The families and loved ones of those on board have our deepest sympathies, and we hope this initial outreach can help bring them comfort,” Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said Wednesday.

Another Boeing official said the $100 million pledge was “absolutely independent of the lawsuits” and wouldn’t have any bearing on litigation or mediation.

It wasn’t immediately clear how relatives of the MAX crash victims could apply for financial assistance. The Boeing official said the company would work with local governments and nonprofit groups to distribute the funds.

Some lawyers representing victims’ families in civil litigation against the company said the money is a step in the right direction, while others decried it as a publicity stunt and questioned how the $100 million would be spent.

“It doesn’t do anything meaningful for the families and it doesn’t give them the answers they’re looking for,” said Steven Marks, a lawyer at Podhurst Orseck PA in Miami, who is representing families of victims of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes.

Boeing didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lawyers said the funds won’t stop them from pushing the company for answers through the lawsuits. A judge overseeing lawsuits related to the crash in Ethiopia said last week Boeing must begin turning over documents to plaintiffs in the coming months.

“I don’t believe any of our clients would resolve their cases before more information about the causes of the two tragedies is known and that they know that something of the same nature won’t occur again,” said Justin Green, an attorney in New York with several cases related to the Ethiopia crash.

Boeing had come under fire in the aftermath of the two crashes for appearing to deflect blame and withholding information from airlines and pilots. Executives have stepped up efforts to express sorrow. Last month, Mr. Muilenburg said the company had made mistakes in how it communicated during the crisis.

Boeing faces potential legal costs from the MAX crashes far in excess of Wednesday’s financial commitment. Some analysts estimate settlements with plaintiffs could top $3 billion.

That money would come on top of other costs from the MAX’s global grounding, including potentially several billion dollars in compensation to airlines. Boeing in April said it would take a $1 billion charge against earnings to cover higher plane-production expenses spread over the life of the jetliner program. The figure didn’t include unspecified costs to fix the MAX.

Boeing, a big beneficiary of recent U.S. tax cuts, in 2017 said it planned to use $300 million of the savings for charitable donations and workforce education.

Boeing Agrees to Talk Settlement Over 737 Max 8 Crash Lawsuits

Boeing and lawyers suing on behalf of victims of last year’s Lion Air crash have agreed to a mediation in July in an attempt to settle the cases.

By Amanda Bronstad | May 29, 2019 at 07:35 PM

Debris recovered from the crash site sits on the dockside at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Oct. 29, 2018. Photo: Rony Zakaria/Bloomberg

The Boeing Co. has agreed to mediate dozens of lawsuits brought over last year’s Lion Air crash, one of two disasters tied to its grounded 737 Max 8 aircraft.
Lawyers for Boeing and family members suing on behalf of victims of the Oct. 29 crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, which killed 189 people, told a federal judge in Chicago about the mediation plan in a joint case management report filed in court this month. Boeing had agreed to bring in mediator Donald O’Connell, a retired judge of the Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, to “negotiate now in good faith to settle these cases,” the report said.
The move appears to be a turnaround in legal strategy from last month, when Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg attempted to assure shareholders about the safety of its aircraft while skirting calls for his resignation. Discussion about mediation talks come after Boeing and a “group of counsel designated to represent the interests of various plaintiffs” had a telephone conference May 10, according to the case management report.
“During the call, Boeing made clear its willingness to negotiate now in good faith to settle these cases for full compensatory damages under the applicable law as assessed based on the facts and circumstances of each case,” lawyers wrote in the report. “To that end, Boeing proposed that the parties now engage in damages discovery followed by settlement discussions and mediation.”
On May 20, U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin of the Northern District of Illinois ordered that mediation talks, anticipated to last several days, begin July 17.
“Boeing and the claimants in the Lion Air Flight 610 cases have agreed to work together to explore early settlement of these claims, so that those affected can receive compensation without the need for prolonged litigation,” said Paul Bergman, a spokesman for Boeing, which is represented by Mack Shultz, of Perkins Coie in Seattle.
Brian Kabateck, who has filed three lawsuits against Boeing on behalf of Lion Air victims, said the discussions “came about quickly.”
“It’s really a big question right now of whether or not there’s real efforts to mediate or not,” said Kabateck, of Kabateck LLP in Los Angeles. “We’re keeping an open mind and we’re hoping that Boeing is keeping an open mind as well.”
Another lead plaintiffs attorney with several Lion Air cases, Steven Marks of Podhurst Orseck in Miami, said plaintiffs’ attorneys had pushed for an expedited schedule on the mediation. He said there is a “reasonable likelihood” that settlement talks would be successful.
The mediation talks do not involve lawsuits brought over the Ethiopian Airlines 302 crash March 10 that killed 157 people. That crash, coupled with the Lion Air disaster, prompted Boeing to ground its 737 Max 8 aircraft.
But Marks said he wouldn’t be surprised if Boeing reached out to lawyers in those cases, as well.
“It’s fairly obvious that the liability in this case is aggravated and gross, and they’re getting hurt publicity wise, and the fleet is still grounded, and I think any reasonable fact finder is going to hold Boeing accountable,” he said. “As a corporation that wants to put something behind them, it’s the logical thing to do.”
This week, the International Air Transport Association, an airline industry group, said Boeing’s 737 Max 8 would remain grounded for several more months. Earlier this month, Boeing named a new general counsel.
The mediation talks halt Boeing’s plan to file a motion to dismiss the Lion Air lawsuits next month. Boeing had indicated it would assert dismissal based on forum non conveniens. If the lawyers “reach an impasse” during mediation, according to the joint case management report, Boeing would have 10 days to file its motion to dismiss.
Marks said doubted Boeing’s dismissal arguments would fly.
“For a lot of reasons, these cases will not be dismissed on forum non conveniens,” he said. “There are a number of shareholder suits pending, a criminal investigation pending, and all the issues related to liability are in the United States. The FAA is not subject to forum non conveniens dismissal, and they’re going to be joined in the case, and the same facts are intermixed and duplicative to the claims against Boeing.”
Durkin scheduled a June 30 deadline for plaintiffs attorneys to produce damages discovery.
“It’s anyone’s bet what could happen.” Kabateck said. “We could be at law and motion practice by the end of summer. We could be in settlement discussions at the end of the summer. This is a story that is unlike anything I’ve ever been involved in my legal career.”7

Lion Air Crash Suits Against Boeing Consolidated In Ill.

By Linda Chiem

Law360 (April 16, 2019, 5:07 PM EDT) — Twenty-five lawsuits against Boeing filed by the families of victims of October’s Lion Air crash in Indonesia were consolidated in Illinois federal court Tuesday as the U.S. plane maker faces growing litigation over alleged defects in its 737 MAX jets.

U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin issued an order saying he’ll oversee an additional 25 lawsuits from certain families of the victims of Lion Air Flight 610, which crashed into the Java Sea minutes after taking off from Jakarta en route to Pangkal Pinang in Indonesia. The Oct. 29 crash killed 189 people.

The 25 suits join six other suits that Judge Durkin already consolidated last month, with the lead case now known as In re: Lion Air Flight JT 610 Crash. The victims’ families allege in the suits that the Boeing Co. negligently designed and manufactured “defective” and “unreasonably dangerous” 737 MAX 8 jets, its newest and most popular line of jets.

Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft was involved in both the Lion Air crash and the recent March 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that killed 157 people. The planes have been grounded globally since last month and Boeing is facing numerous lawsuits from the families of victims from both crashes.

Courts routinely consolidate victims’ lawsuits stemming from major aviation and other transportation accidents. Boeing is based in Chicago, which is why the suits are playing out in Illinois federal court.

Steven C. Marks of Podhurst Orseck PA, who is representing families in five suits that were part of Tuesday’s consolidation order, said that such cases are customarily consolidated for liability purposes and common discovery.

“The judge is simply following the most efficient and prudent methods that are appropriate for this kind of matter,” Marks said. “The damages, of course, are unique and different and so at the appropriate time, the court will address the procedures dealing with those issues. … We agree that this is the best method and the most efficient way to effectively handle these cases.”

Floyd Wisner of Wisner Law Firm PC, whose firm was among the first to sue Boeing over the Lion Air crash in Illinois federal court in November, also said Tuesday that the order is “procedural, but it has to be done.”

Many of the lawsuits fault Boeing for installing angle of attack sensors on the plane that reported inaccurate data to the flight control system, which then activated the 737 MAX 8’s new anti-stall system and forced the plane into a nosedive.

Preliminary findings from aviation authorities and accident investigators in Indonesia and Ethiopia have implicated the anti-stall system — known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System — as a likely contributor to both crashes.

Boeing earlier this month acknowledged the apparent role of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System in both crashes, saying it will slow down production of the planes while it continues to work on a software update to correct the errors related to the anti-stall system.

“We now know that the recent Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents were caused by a chain of events, with a common chain link being erroneous activation of the aircraft’s MCAS function,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement April 5. “We have the responsibility to eliminate this risk, and we know how to do it.”

Meanwhile, congressional leaders, a government watchdog and federal prosecutors are investigating whether there were any oversight lapses in the Federal Aviation Administration’s aircraft certification process, in addition to whistleblower claims that FAA safety inspectors weren’t sufficiently trained to evaluate and approve the 737 MAX 8.

Boeing declined to comment on the litigation on Tuesday.

“Boeing extends our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the families and loved ones of those onboard Lion Air Flight 610,” the company said in a statement. “As the investigation continues, Boeing is cooperating fully with the investigating authorities.”

The Lion Air victims’ families are represented by Wisner Law Firm PC, Corboy & Demetrio PC, Nolan Law Group, Hays Firm LLC, Podhurst Orseck PA, BartlettChen LLC, Ribbeck Law Chartered, Gardiner Koch Weisberg & Wrona, Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge, Kabateck LLP and Sanjiv N. Singh APLC.

Boeing is represented by Bates McIntyre Larson, Daniel T. Burley, Mack H. Shultz Jr. and Gretchen M. Paine of Perkins Coie LLP

The lead case is In re: Lion Air Flight JT 610 Crash, case number 1:18-cv-07686, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

–Editing by Abbie Sarfo.

Boeing acknowledges flight control system’s role in crashes, promises ‘disciplined approach’ to fix

By David Shortell, CNN
Updated 7:00 PM ET, Thu April 4, 2019

(CNN)Boeing said for the first time Thursday that an anti-stall system on its 737 Max model had played a role in two recent plane crashes, an acknowledgment that will heighten the scrutiny the company is facing as it works to return its signature aircraft  currently grounded by aviation regulators around the globe — to the skies.

Dennis Muilenburg, the company’s CEO, made the acknowledgment in a statement following the release of a preliminary report by Ethiopian investigators that found that a malfunctioning sensor on an Ethiopian Airlines flight last month was sending incorrect data to the plane’s flight control system.

According to the report, the pilots battled the system as it pushed the nose of the aircraft down, responding to faulty data from the angle of attack sensor that appeared to show the plane directed too far up and at risk of stalling.

The problems on board the Ethiopian Airlines jet mirror those encountered on the Lion Air flight that crashed in October. Between the two crashes, 346 people were killed.

Boeing announced last week that it had developed a fix to the anti-stall system, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, that it was ready to submit for final regulatory approval, though on Monday it delayed that submission, later citing the discovery of an additional “relatively minor” issue.

“It’s apparent that in both flights the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information,” Muilenburg said Thursday, calling the system one link in a “chain of events” that caused the crash.

“It’s our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it and we know how to do it,” Muilenburg said.

The Federal Aviation Administration certification process for the MCAS software update has taken place in a separate procedure than the initial review of the Boeing 737 Max, which has been criticized for its reliance on designated Boeing employees for certain sign-offs.

While Boeing and the FAA have been working in lockstep since the company began its redesign of the software after the Lion Air crash last year, final certification for the update will fall to FAA officials, not Boeing designees, a person familiar with the process said.

That is standard procedure for a specific update or fix to an individual part, versus the years-long certification of a new airplane model, which allows for the approval of certain elements of design and airworthiness by specifically designated Boeing employees, in accordance with a long-standing agreement between the manufacturer and the FAA.

Boeing first submitted a proposed certification plan to the FAA in January for the update, and the FAA has since participated in simulator tests to the new software. On March 12, the FAA went up on a Boeing certification flight to test the new software, a Boeing official said.

US Air Force again halts delivery of Boeing refueling plane over debris found onboard

The updated software will include data from a second angle of attack sensor and will no longer be able to produce an angle that cannot be counteracted manually by a pilot.

“This update, along with the associated training and additional educational materials that pilots want in the wake of these accidents, will eliminate the possibility of unintended MCAS activation and prevent an MCAS-related accident from ever happening again,” Muilenburg said in the statement Thursday.

The update design had appeared to be going smoothly and approaching conclusion last week. A Boeing official had said then that the company was planning to send the update to the FAA for final certification by last Friday, and that Wednesday, Boeing unveiled the new software to a gathering of aviation officials at its Renton, Washington, facility.

Later in the week, however, Boeing employees going through a final check, called the non-advocate review process, identified integration issues with the new software, a Boeing official said. That review process, a regular layer of oversight at the company, involves inspection of a program by Boeing employees that did not work on its development.

A Boeing spokesman later said the problem in the updated software that was discovered in the non-advocate review process was unrelated to MCAS and “relatively minor.”

On Monday, Boeing notified airlines that flew the Max and aviation regulators that there would be a delay in submitting the final certification for the update, two people familiar with the timeline said.

Boeing has said the completed update will be sent to the FAA for final review in “the coming weeks.”

“We’re taking a comprehensive, disciplined approach, and taking the time, to get the software update right,” Muilenburg said Thursday, adding an apology for the deaths due to the crashes and a recognition that “all of us feel the immense gravity of these events across our company.”

Lawmakers have slammed Boeing and the FAA for the regulatory agreement that takes workload off of government inspectors and puts it on the manufacturer.

“The fact is that the FAA decided to do safety on the cheap, which is neither safe or cheap, and put the fox in charge of the henhouse,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, said at a hearing last week.

Michael Goldfarb, a former FAA chief of staff, said the fixes to the 737 Max will likely take months, not weeks, because Boeing does not want to “create a bigger problem than was fixed.”

“This will be treated differently from the way business is done,” Goldfarb told CNN of the FAA review of the update. “This will be micromanaged from Secretary Chao down.”

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told a Senate panel last week that she was “concerned” about the allegations of coziness between FAA and Boeing but she defended the practice of company employees handling certification responsibilities.

“I am of course concerned about any allegations of coziness with any company, manufacturer,” Chao said. “These questions, when they arise, if they arise, are troubling because we should have absolute confidence in the regulators that they are certifying properly.”

Muilenburg was aboard a test flight of the 737 Max in Seattle on Wednesday for a demonstration of the updated MCAS software, according to Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

The software worked as designed and the plane landed safely, Johndroe said.

CNN’s Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Dutch surviving relative sues Boeing for crash in Ethiopia

TUESDAY, 4:02 PM

Huguette Debets, from Rwandan origin, is suing Boeing. She thinks the aircraft manufacturer is responsible for the aircraft crash with the Boeing 737 MAX from Ethiopian Airlines last month. All 157 passengers were killed, including the ex-husband of Debets, the Rwandan Jackson Musoni. Together they have two children aged 4 and 5 years.

Debets’ ex-husband worked for the United Nations. He was with two colleagues on the way to a conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Debets wants answers that give her and the other relatives the chance to let go, she says in this video:

“It is 346 lives that children, parents, brothers, sisters and friends leave behind”

The crash happened six months after an accident with the same aircraft from Boeing, in Indonesia. All 189 passengers were killed. Both accidents happened immediately after taking off and also showed a number of similarities.

When asked what motivates her to sue Boeing, Debets (35) answers with a sum. “189 plus 157, that is 346 lives that children leave behind, parents, siblings, friends, colleagues. People who had a good life and who had potential, but even though they did nothing at all in life, they are lives. All lives matter. ”

Don’t get away with it

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing is not allowed to get away with this, says Debets. Not like the previous disaster, with a device from the Indonesian company Lion Air, more than half a year ago. Even then, questions were asked by relatives’ lawyers, but that did not lead anywhere.

The invisibility of Boeing after the second disaster last month in Ethiopia has deeply touched Debets. “Is it so easy to get away with it? It could have been resolved with the 189 (the number of victims in the Lion Air disaster, ed.), Perhaps even before that.”

Shortly after the disaster with the aircraft of Ethiopian Airlines, all 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft were chained. It is no longer allowed to fly with it until it is clear what went wrong. Boeing has announced a software update and apologizes. “Far too late,” says Debets.

True answers

“I can’t just say: the father of my children died on a plane because that happens, no.” She wants real answers to the important question: why is this not prevented?

Debets is so far the only one that has filed a lawsuit. She hopes people will join her, but she doesn’t count on anything. “I have already adjusted myself to the worst-case scenario: I am alone.”

She is combative and has a long breath. “For my part it can take twenty years, I have the time. I will continue until the end.”

Etiopía presentará el primer informe oficial sobre la tragedia del Boeing 737 MAX y apunta al sistema MCAS

El sistema de estabilización automática MCAS, implicado en el accidente en octubre de un 737 MAX 8 en Indonesia, se activó también en el avión de Ethiopian Airlines poco antes de estrellarse el 10 de marzo, dijo el viernes a la agencia AFP una fuente cercana al caso, mientras se espera que el ministerio de Transporte etíope presente este lunes el primer informe oficial sobre el incidente.

El hallazgo sobre el MCAS sería precisamente parte de las conclusiones preliminares del análisis de las cajas negras del vuelo 302 de Ethiopian Airlines siniestrado en el que murieron 157 personas al este de Adís Abeba, dijo la fuente en condición de anonimato.

Agregó que la información se presentó el jueves a las autoridades estadounidenses, entre ellas a la Agencia Federal de Aviación (FAA), que analizan la información transmitida por Etiopía.

Esto no excluye que los reguladores estadounidenses puedan revisar sus hallazgos,advirtió la fuente, confirmando información publicada por el Wall Street Journal.

Las autoridades etíopes ya había adelantado que existen “claras similitudes” entre los accidentes del vuelo 302 de Ethiopian Airlines y el vuelo 610 de Lion Air del 29 de octubre, que dejó 189 muertos.

En los dos casos, los reguladores y los expertos aeronaúticos estimaron que el sistema estabilizador MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) tuvo un papel importante. Este sistema fue instalado en los 737 MAX para compensar los problemas aerodinámicos causados por el cambio de ubicación y el peso de los dos motores de la aeronave.

Boeing defiende el MCAS, pero anuncia modificaciones 

La familia de Jackson Musoni, un ruandés de 31 años que viajaba a bordo del vuelo 302 de Ethiopian, acusa a Boeing de diseñar un sistema estabilizador MCAS defectuoso.

“Hubo una reconfiguración de la aeronave, lo que significa que los motores estaban adelantados (…), cambiando, sin duda, la forma del fuselaje y en definitiva alterando la aerodinámica”, dijo a la AFP por teléfono Steven Marks, abogado de la familia de Musoni.

“No podemos comentar sobre la demanda. Ofrecemos nuestras condolencias a las familias y el entorno de los pasajeros de Ethiopian Airlines. Boeing continúa participando en la investigación y está trabajando con las autoridades para evaluar la nueva información a medida que está disponible”, declaró por su parte un portavoz de la empresa estadounidense en un correo electrónico.

La flota de 737 MAX se encuentra inmovilizada en tierra desde mediados de marzo después del accidente de Ethiopian Airlines, el segundo siniestro que involucra a este avión en menos de cinco meses. En consecuencia, Boeing ha entrado en una crisis sin precedentes y hay incertidumbre por sus pedidos restantes de 737 MAx, valuados en 500.000 millones de dólares.

Los primeros elementos de la investigación del Lion Air 737 MAX indican que uno de los sensores que registra el ángulo de ataque de la aeronave, es decir la posición de la nariz, falló, pero siguió transmitiendo esta información errónea al sistema, incluido el MCAS,que continuó tratando de hacer que el avión fuera en picada, cuando no era necesario, para recuperar velocidad a pesar de los intentos de los pilotos por enderezarlo. En el incidente murieron 189 personas.

Probablemente tomará largos meses conocer las causas de ambos accidentes.

El Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos ha iniciado una investigación criminal sobre el desarrollo del 737 MAX, mientras se está realizando una auditoría de la certificación del MCAS.

Boeing presentó el miércoles los cambios al MCAS para hacerlo “más sólido” con el fin de recuperar la confianza del público y convencer a las autoridades para que levanten la prohibición de vuelo de los 737 MAX.

Los primeros elementos de la investigación del Lion Air 737 MAX indican que uno de los sensores que registra el ángulo de ataque de la aeronave, es decir la posición de la nariz, falló, pero siguió transmitiendo esta información errónea al sistema, incluido el MCAS,que continuó tratando de hacer que el avión fuera en picada, cuando no era necesario, para recuperar velocidad a pesar de los intentos de los pilotos por enderezarlo. En el incidente murieron 189 personas.

Probablemente tomará largos meses conocer las causas de ambos accidentes.

El Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos ha iniciado una investigación criminal sobre el desarrollo del 737 MAX, mientras se está realizando una auditoría de la certificación del MCAS.

Boeing presentó el miércoles los cambios al MCAS para hacerlo “más sólido” con el fin de recuperar la confianza del público y convencer a las autoridades para que levanten la prohibición de vuelo de los 737 MAX.

Ethiopian Airlines accident: Victim’s family sues Boeing

The family of a Rwandan citizen who died in the Boeing 737 MAX 8 accident at Ethiopian Airlines, which killed 157 people on March 10, filed a lawsuit in Chicago against aeronautical manufacturer Boeing, Rwandan media reported on Saturday.

The family of Jackson Musoni, who was among the UN employees who were aboard the Boeing that crashed south-east of Addis Ababa just minutes after takeoff, accuses the American manufacturer of having designed a MCAS anti-stall system defective.

“There was a reconfiguration of the aircraft, which means that the engines were advanced (…), undoubtedly changing the shape of the fuselage and ultimately altering aerodynamics,” Steven Marks told the press, Jackson Musoni’s family advisor, quoted by the media.

The complaint was filed in a Chicago court by Podhurst Orsek on behalf of Jackson Musoni’s family.

The fleet of 737 MAX, 8 and 9, has been grounded since mid-March after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines, the second drama involving this aircraft in less than five months.

Last October, a 737 MAX 8 from Lion Air crashed in Indonesia, killing 189 people.

Boeing anti-stall system was activated in Ethiopia crash

Boeing’s controversial anti-stall system, which was implicated in the crash of a 737 MAX 8 airliner in Indonesia in October last year, was also activated shortly before an accident this month in Ethiopia, a source with knowledge of the investigation said on Friday.

The information is among the preliminary findings from the analysis of the “black boxes” retrieved from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed southeast of Addis Ababa on March 10, killing 157 people, the source told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The information retrieved from the plane’s voice and data recorders was on Thursday presented to US authorities, including the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the source said.

However, the investigation is still under way and the findings are not yet definitive, they added.

The information was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Boeing and the FAA declined to comment.

‘CLEAR SIMILARITIES’

Ethiopian authorities have promised to submit the preliminary report on Flight 302 by the middle of next month, but have already said that there are “clear similarities” between the two MAX 8 crashes.

It was yet another blow to aviation giant Boeing, which just this week unveiled a fix to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that it designed to prevent stalls in its new plane.

The planemaker has tried to restore its battered reputation, even while continuing to insist that the MAX is safe.

The family of 31-year-old Jackson Musoni, a Rwandan who died in the Ethiopian Airlines accident, on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Boeing in a court in Chicago, where the company has its corporate headquarters.

The suit accuses the company of designing a defective system.

The MCAS, which lowers the aircraft’s nose if it detects a stall or loss of airspeed, was developed specifically for the 737 MAX, which has heavier engines than its predecessor, creating aerodynamic issues.

The initial investigation into the Lion Air crash in Indonesia, which killed all 189 people on board, found that an “angle of attack” (AOA) sensor failed, but continued to transmit erroneous information to the MCAS.

The pilot tried repeatedly to regain control and pull the nose up, but the plane crashed into the ocean.

The flight track of the doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight, which also crashed minutes after takeoff, “was very similar to Lion Air [indicating] there was very possibly a link between the two flights,” FAA acting chief Daniel Elwell told the US Congress this week.

The FAA grounded the MAX fleet worldwide, but not until two days after most countries had done so.

That delay, along with an FAA policy allowing Boeing to certify some of its own safety features, has raised questions about whether US regulators are too close to the industry.

Elwell denied that the agency was lax in its oversight, saying: “The certification process was detailed and thorough.”

He also seemed to cast doubt on the MCAS as the clear culprit, saying that data collected from 57,000 flights in the US since the MAX was introduced in 2017 revealed not a single reported MCAS malfunction.

‘SAME CAUSE’

However, Steven Marks, the lawyer for Jackson Musoni’s family, said information from the recent tragedies, as well as pilot reports, “made it crystal clear that the cause of these two crashes are the same.”

Ethiopia crash victim’s family sues Boeing

A NATION IN MOURNING: United Nations workers mourn their colleagues during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 15. Tiksa Neger I/Reuters

Boeing was sued Thursday in what may be the first U.S. claim tied to the crash of one of its 737 Max 8 jets in Ethiopia this month.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Chicago, where Boeing is headquartered, on behalf of Huguette Debets. Debets is a representative of the family of Jackson Musoni, a United Nations employee who was among the 157 people killed when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 plummeted into a farm field shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa on March 10.

The lawsuit alleges the crash was caused by a new flight-control system incorporated in the Boeing 737 Max 8.

The 737 Max 8, Boeing’s newest plane, was involved in two crashes in less than five months before aviation safety authorities worldwide, including in the United States, grounded the aircraft. On Oct. 29, 2018, 189 people were killed when a 737 Max 8, flying under the banner of Lion Air, crashed into the Java Sea in Indonesia.

Several lawsuits also have been filed against Boeing related to the Lion Air crash.

“Boeing, having knowledge of all the reports of dangerous conditions and the previous accident that killed over 150 people, should have taken steps to protect the flying public,” said Steve Marks, an attorney with the Miami-based firm Podhurst Orseck, who is representing Musoni’s relatives. “This accident happened when it should have never happened.”

The lawsuit was filed a day after Boeing, grappling with the fallout of the two deadly crashes, sought to reassure the public of the safety of its product, and outlined upgrades to the aircraft’s software and increased training for pilots who fly the 737 Max.

The Justice Department’s criminal division is looking into the 737 Max, and the Transportation Department’s inspector general is investigating the way the certification was handled, as is Congress and a special committee set up by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Congress on Wednesday held the first of what are likely to be several hearings on the Federal Aviation Administration’s oversight and approval process of the aircraft.

The lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that the Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed because, “among other things, Boeing defectively designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 Max 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down, and because Boeing failed to warn of the defect.”

The aircraft was “defective in design, had inadequate warnings, and was unreasonably dangerous,” the lawsuit said, adding that “Boeing negligently failed to warn the public, the airlines, the pilots, the users, and the intended third-party beneficiaries of the 7387 Max 8’s unreasonably dangerous and defective design, including that the aircraft automatically and uncontrollably dived partly because of erroneous sensors.”

It also claims that the FAA delegated authority to Boeing to approve portions of the aircraft certification process and assisted Boeing in rushing the delivery of the Max 8, resulting in “several crucial flaws” in the safety analysis report Boeing ultimately delivered to the FAA.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. The acting FAA administrator defended the government’s oversight approach at the Wednesday hearing.

Debets is a representative of Musoni’s family, including three young children. Musoni, 31, a citizen of Rwanda, was a field coordinator with the United Nations Refugee Agency based in Sudan’s East Darfur, according to the agency. He had been working with the United Nations since 2014. He was one of 19 U.N. aid workers and staffers who were on board Flight 302, many of whom were traveling to Nairobi for the U.N. Environment Assembly.

Complaints have been piling up against Boeing since the Lion Air crash in October.

More than 30 relatives of those who died in the Lion Air crash have sued the company. In lawsuits filed last week, the families of two Lion Air passengers alleged that Boeing failed to warn pilots and airlines about a flight-control problem on the Max aircraft, and also pointed to flaws in the certification process of the jetliner, handled by the FAA. Marks, who also represents the families of 20 Lion Air victims, said his clients are also planning to sue the federal government.

More relatives of the victims in both crashes are expected to file lawsuits against the company in coming weeks. Charles Herrmann, a Seattle-based aviation attorney, said relatives of the Ethiopian crash victims have been contacting American attorneys for representation. Herrmann is representing families of 17 Lion Air crash victims.

Preliminary investigations have noted similarities between the two crashes.

Satellite data showed the Ethiopian Airlines jet had ascended and descended multiple times after takeoff, mirroring the behavior of the Lion Air flight.

In that crash, an “angle of attack” sensor, which measures where the nose is pointing, was showing erroneous readings throughout the short time the plane was airborne. With the sensor insisting the nose was too high, the automated system called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, kicked in, sending the plane down as the cockpit crew unsuccessfully fought to regain control, according to a preliminary investigative report from November.

The possibility that the same scenario occurred in the Ethiopia crash prompted aviation authorities across the world to ground the aircraft.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg earlier this week expressed condolences for the victims in both crashes, saying the company is “humbled and learning from this experience.”

“Since the moment we learned of the recent 737 Max accidents, we’ve thought about the lives lost and the impact it has on people around the globe and throughout the aerospace community. All those involved have had to deal with unimaginable pain. We’re humbled by their resilience and inspired by their courage,” Muilenburg said.

Terlalu Tinggi, Anti Stall Otomatis Ethiopian Airlines Aktif, Pesawat Pun Menukik ke Tanah

RAKYATKU.COM, ETHIOPIA – Penyelidikan terhadap kecelakaan pesawat yang fatal di Ethiopia, telah memusatkan perhatian pada kecurigaan bahwa sensor yang salah memicu sistem anti stall otomatis, mengirim pesawat untuk menyelam.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), menerima data penerbangan kotak hitam dari Ethiopian Airlines Penerbangan 302 pada hari Kamis, menunjukkan bahwa sistem anti-stall MCAS diaktifkan sesaat sebelum kecelakaan.

Sistem yang sama diduga jadi penyebab jatuhnya Boeing 737 Max pada bulan Oktober di Indonesia, Lion Air Penerbangan JT 610.

MCAS dirancang untuk mendorong hidung pesawat ke bawah, ketika sensor menunjukkan bahwa ‘angle of attack’ terlalu curam, dan pesawat berada dalam bahaya terhenti – tetapi para penyelidik kini menyelidiki, apakah sensor yang salah mengaktifkan sistem selama kondisi menanjak normal. Ujar sebuah sumber.

“Data yang diambil dari perekam penerbangan Ethiopian Airlines menunjukkan, sistem MCAS, telah diaktifkan sebelum jet itu menabrak ladang di luar Addis Ababa pada 10 Maret, menewaskan semua 157 penumpang,” kata seseorang yang diberi pengarahan tentang masalah tersebut.

Namun, sumber itu mengatakan, penyelidikan masih berlangsung dan temuannya belum pasti.

Boeing dan FAA menolak mengomentari temuan tersebut, yang pertama kali dilaporkan oleh Wall Street Journal.

Pihak berwenang Ethiopia, telah berjanji untuk menyerahkan laporan pendahuluan tentang Penerbangan 302 pada pertengahan April, tetapi telah mengatakan bahwa ada ‘kesamaan yang jelas’ antara kecelakaan dua Max 737.

Itu adalah pukulan lain bagi raksasa penerbangan Boeing, yang baru minggu ini meluncurkan perbaikan pada Sistem Augmentasi Karakteristik Manuver (MCAS) yang dirancang Boeing, untuk mencegah kios di pesawat barunya.

Perusahaan penerbangan telah mencoba untuk mengembalikan reputasinya yang hancur, bahkan sambil terus bersikeras bahwa Max aman.

MCAS, yang merendahkan hidung pesawat jika mendeteksi kemacetan atau kehilangan kecepatan udara, dikembangkan secara khusus untuk 737 Max, yang memiliki mesin lebih berat dari pendahulunya, menciptakan masalah aerodinamis.

Penyelidikan awal pada kecelakaan Lion Air Oktober di Indonesia, yang menewaskan 189 orang di dalamnya, menemukan, bahwa sensor ‘angle of attack’ (AOA) gagal tetapi terus mengirimkan informasi yang salah ke MCAS.

Pilot mencoba berulang kali untuk mendapatkan kembali kendali dan menarik hidung ke atas, tetapi pesawat menabrak laut.

Jalur penerbangan dari penerbangan Ethiopia Airlines yang hancur, yang juga jatuh beberapa menit setelah lepas landas, “sangat mirip dengan Lion Air (menunjukkan) ada sangat mungkin hubungan antara dua penerbangan,” kata Ketua FAA Daniel Elwell kepada Kongres pekan ini.

FAA memarkir armada Max di seluruh dunia, tidak sampai dua hari setelah sebagian besar negara melakukannya.

Penundaan itu, bersama dengan kebijakan FAA yang memungkinkan Boeing untuk mengesahkan beberapa fitur keselamatannya sendiri, telah menimbulkan pertanyaan tentang apakah regulator terlalu dekat dengan industri.

Elwell membantah bahwa agen itu lemah dalam pengawasannya, dengan mengatakan, “Proses sertifikasi terperinci dan menyeluruh.”

Dia juga tampaknya meragukan MCAS sebagai pelakunya, dengan mengatakan bahwa data yang dikumpulkan dari 57.000 penerbangan di AS sejak MAX diperkenalkan pada 2017, mengungkapkan tidak ada satu pun kerusakan MCAS yang dilaporkan.

Keluarga Jackson Musoni yang berusia 31 tahun, seorang warga Rwanda yang meninggal dalam kecelakaan Ethiopian Airlines, mengajukan gugatan terhadap Boeing pada hari Kamis, di sebuah pengadilan di Chicago, di mana perusahaan memiliki kantor pusat. Gugatan itu menuduh produsen pesawat merancang sistem yang rusak.

Steven Marks, pengacara untuk keluarga Musoni, mengatakan, informasi dari tragedi baru-baru ini, serta laporan pilot, ‘memperjelas bahwa penyebab dua kecelakaan ini adalah sama.’

“Tidak ada pertanyaan bahwa MCAS adalah masalahnya, dan bahwa pilot tidak mengetahui sistem tersebut,” katanya kepada AFP.

Pilot AS mengeluh setelah kecelakaan Lion Air, bahwa mereka belum diberi pengarahan lengkap tentang sistem tersebut.

Musoni termasuk di antara sedikitnya 22 karyawan PBB yang tewas dalam kecelakaan Ethiopia.

Boeing juga menolak untuk mengomentari gugatan itu, tetapi minggu ini meluncurkan perubahan pada sistem MCAS yang akan dipasang di seluruh dunia, setelah disetujui FAA.

Di antara perubahan, lama dalam pengerjaan, MCAS tidak akan lagi berulang kali melakukan koreksi, ketika pilot mencoba untuk mendapatkan kembali kendali, dan perusahaan akan memasang fitur peringatan – tanpa biaya – untuk mengingatkan pilot ketika sensor AOA kiri dan kanan keluar sinkronisasi.

Perusahaan juga merevisi pelatihan pilot, termasuk yang sudah disertifikasi pada 737, untuk memberikan ‘peningkatan pemahaman tentang sistem penerbangan 737 Max’ dan prosedur kru.

Pada hari Jumat, Southwest Airlines menarik 737 Max-nya dari jadwal penerbangan hingga Mei, memperpanjang jadwal sebelumnya dari 20 April, menurut sebuah memorandum perusahaan.

“Ini akan berdampak pada garis Mei, tetapi, sekarang setelah keputusan telah dibuat, kita dapat membangun jadwal kita tanpa penerbangan itu jauh di muka dengan harapan untuk meminimalkan gangguan sehari-hari,” Asosiasi Pilot Maskapai Southwest Airlines dan perusahaan mengatakan dalam nota bersama.

Crash d’Ethiopian Airlines: la famille d’un Rwandais poursuit Boeing devant un tribunal américain

Kigali, 30 mars (TAP) – La famille d’un citoyen rwandais décédé dans l’accident du Boeing 737 MAX 8 d’Ethiopian Airlines, qui a fait 157 morts le 10 mars, a déposé plainte à Chicago contre le constructeur aéronautique Boeing, rapportent samedi des médias rwandais.

La famille de Jackson Musoni, qui faisait partie des employés de l’ONU qui étaient à bord du Boeing qui s’est écrasé au sud-est d’Addis-Abeba quelques minutes après son décollage, accuse le constructeur américain d’avoir conçu un système anti-décrochage MCAS défectueux.

“Il y a eu une reconfiguration de l’avion, ce qui signifie que les moteurs ont été avancés (…), changeant sans aucun doute la forme du fuselage et au final altérant l’aérodynamisme”, a indiqué par à la presse Steven Marks, le conseiller de la famille de M. Musoni, cité par des médias.

La plainte a été déposée devant un tribunal de Chicago par le cabinet Podhurst Orsek pour le compte de la famille de Jackson Musoni.

La flotte des 737 MAX, 8 et 9, est immobilisée au sol depuis mi-mars après l’accident d’Ethiopian Airlines, le deuxième drame impliquant cet avion en moins de cinq mois.

En octobre dernier, un 737 MAX 8 de la compagnie Lion Air s’est abîmé en Indonésie, faisant 189 morts.

Sistema del Boeing 737 se activó antes del accidente

El sistema de estabilización automática MCAS, implicado en el accidente en octubre de un 737 MAX 8 en Indonesia, se activó en el avión de Ethiopian Airlines poco antes de estrellarse el 10 de marzo, dijo el viernes a AFP una fuente cercana al caso.

El hallazgo es parte de las conclusiones preliminares del análisis de las cajas negras del vuelo 302 de Ethiopian Airlines siniestrado en el que murieron 157 personas al este de Adís Abeba, dijo la fuente en condición de anonimato.

Agregó que la información se presentó el jueves a las autoridades estadounidenses, entre ellas a la Agencia Federal de Aviación (FAA), que analizan la información transmitida por Etiopía.

Esto no excluye que los reguladores estadounidenses puedan revisar sus hallazgos, advirtió sin embargo la fuente, confirmando la información del Wall Street Journal.

La FAA rehusó hacer comentarios.

Las autoridades etíopes prometieron, de su lado, presentar el reporte preliminar sobre el accidente a mediados de abril pero han señalado que existen “claras similitudes” entre los accidentes del vuelo 302 de Ethiopian Airlines y el vuelo 610 de Lion Air del 29 de octubre, que dejó 189 muertos.

En los dos casos, los reguladores y los expertos aeronaúticos estimaron que el sistema estabilizador MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) tuvo un papel importante. Este sistema fue instalado en los 737 MAX para compensar los problemas aerodinámicos causados por el cambio de ubicación y el peso de los dos motores de la aeronave.

Defensa del MCAS

La familia de Jackson Musoni, un ruandés de 31 años que viajaba a bordo del vuelo 302 de Ethiopian, acusa a Boeing de diseñar un sistema estabilizador MCAS defectuoso.

“Hubo una reconfiguración de la aeronave, lo que significa que los motores estaban adelantados (…), cambiando, sin duda, la forma del fuselaje y en definitiva alterando la aerodinámica”, dijo a la AFP por teléfono Steven Marks, abogado de la familia de Musoni.

“No podemos comentar sobre la demanda. Ofrecemos nuestras condolencias a las familias y el entorno de los pasajeros de Ethiopian Airlines. Boeing continúa participando en la investigación y está trabajando con las autoridades para evaluar la nueva información a medida que está disponible”, declaró por su parte un portavoz en un correo electrónico.

La flota de 737 MAX -los modelos 8 y los 9- se encuentra inmovilizada en tierra desde mediados de marzo después del accidente de Ethiopian Airlines, el segundo siniestro que involucra a este avión en menos de cinco meses.

Los primeros elementos de la investigación del Lion Air 737 MAX indican que uno de los sensores de impacto de la aeronave falló, pero siguió transmitiendo información a los calculadores del sistema, incluido el MCAS, que continuó tratando de hacer que el avión fuera en picada para recuperar velocidad a pesar de los intentos de los pilotos por enderezarlo.

Probablemente tomará largos meses conocer las causas de ambos accidentes.

El Departamento de Justicia de EEUU ha iniciado una investigación criminal sobre el desarrollo del 737 MAX, mientras se está realizando una auditoría de la certificación del MCAS.

Boeing presentó el miércoles los cambios al MCAS para hacerlo “más sólido” con el fin de recuperar la confianza del público y convencer a las autoridades para que levanten la prohibición de vuelo de los 737 MAX.

El fabricante de la aeronave rechazó la idea de que estos cambios sugirieran que el diseño original era inadecuado.

“El procedimiento que observamos con los reguladores en el diseño de las aeronaves siempre ha llevado a que los aparatos sean más seguros”, dijo un ejecutivo de Boeing, quien agregó que “el rigor y la profundidad del diseño que rodea al MAX y las pruebas que realizamos nos permiten decir que las modificaciones que estamos haciendo” habrían permitido evitar ambos accidentes.

La intervención del MCAS será más transparente para la tripulación, y los pilotos podrán eludirla de forma más fácil en caso de problemas, alegó el fabricante de la aeronave.

El objetivo es evitar que este sistema se active debido a informaciones erróneas, dijo Boeing, que también planeó capacitar mejor a los pilotos en las sutilezas del uso del MCAS y del 737 MAX.

Ethiopian Airlines: le système de Boeing mis en cause était activé

Le système anti-décrochage MCAS, mis en cause dans l’écrasement du 737 MAX 8 de Lion Air, était également activé dans l’appareil d’Ethiopian Airlines peu avant que celui-ci ne pique du nez et s’écrase le 10 mars, a indiqué vendredi à l’AFP une source proche du dossier.

Cette information fait partie des conclusions préliminaires tirées de l’analyse des boîtes noires du vol 302 d’Ethiopian Airlines, a poursuivi la source sous couvert d’anonymat.

Elle a ajouté que l’information avait été présentée jeudi aux autorités américaines, dont l’agence fédérale de l’aviation (FAA), qui analysent les données transmises par l’Éthiopie.

Il n’est pas exclu que les régulateurs américains revoient leurs conclusions, a toutefois averti la source, confirmant des informations du Wall Street Journal.

La FAA s’est refusée à tout commentaire.

Boeing, qui n’a pas souhaité commenter cette information, fait face à une première plainte déposée par la famille d’un citoyen rwandais, Jackson Musoni, une des 157 personnes mortes dans l’ accident survenu au sud-est d’Addis Abeba quelques minutes seulement après le décollage.

La famille de M. Musoni, via son avocat, accuse Boeing d’avoir développé un système anti-décrochage défectueux.

Les autorités éthiopiennes ont promis de leur côté de présenter le rapport préliminaire sur l’accident d’ici la mi-avril mais elles ont déjà dit qu’il y avait des «similarités claires» entre l’écrasement du vol 302 d’Ethiopian Airlines et celui du vol 610 de Lion Air le 29 octobre (189 morts).

Dans les deux cas, les régulateurs et les experts aéronautiques estiment que le logiciel anti-décrochage MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) a joué un rôle.

Il a été installé sur les 737 MAX pour compenser les problèmes aérodynamiques posés par le changement d’emplacement et le poids des deux moteurs de l’appareil.

«Il y a eu une reconfiguration de l’avion, ce qui signifie que les moteurs ont été avancés (…), changeant sans aucun doute la forme du fuselage et au final altérant l’aérodynamisme», a indiqué par téléphone à l’AFP Steven Marks, le conseil de la famille de Jackson Musoni.

«Nous ne pouvons pas faire de commentaire sur la plainte. Nous présentons nos condoléances aux familles et aux proches des passagers d’Ethiopian Airlines. Boeing continue de prendre part à l’enquête et travaille avec les autorités pour évaluer les nouvelles informations au fur et à mesure qu’elles sont disponibles», a déclaré un porte-parole par courriel.

La flotte des 737 MAX, 8 et 9, est immobilisée au sol depuis mi-mars après l’accident d’Ethiopian Airlines.

Les premiers éléments de l’enquête sur le 737 MAX de Lion Air indiquent qu’une des sondes d’incidence de l’appareil était tombée en panne, mais elle avait continué à transmettre des informations aux calculateurs, notamment au MCAS, qui continuait de tenter de faire piquer l’avion pour reprendre de la vitesse malgré les tentatives des pilotes de redresser l’avion.

Boeing a présenté mercredi des modifications du MCAS pour le rendre «plus solide» afin de regagner la confiance du grand public et de convaincre les autorités de lever l’interdiction de vol frappant les 737 MAX.

L’avionneur a rejeté au passage l’idée que ces changements suggéraient que la conception de départ était inadaptée.

«La procédure que nous observons avec les régulateurs sur la conception des avions a toujours conduit à des appareils plus sûrs», a déclaré un dirigeant de Boeing, ajoutant que «la rigueur et la profondeur de la conception entourant le MAX et les tests effectués nous permettent de dire que les modifications que nous faisons» auraient permis d’éviter les deux accidents.

L’intervention du MCAS sera désormais plus transparente pour l’équipage, et les pilotes pourront plus facilement le contourner en cas de problème, a plaidé l’avionneur.

Le but est d’empêcher ce système de s’activer à cause de fausses données, a précisé Boeing, qui a aussi prévu de mieux former les pilotes aux subtilités du MCAS et du 737 MAX.

Il faudra sans doute attendre de longs mois pour connaître les causes des deux accidents.

Le ministère de la Justice américain a ouvert une enquête criminelle sur le développement du 737 MAX, tandis qu’un audit sur la certification du MCAS est en cours.

Boeing : poursuite d’une famille de victime, condamnation de l’OMC

Publié le 29 mars 2019 à 09h00
dans ActualitéTechnologie – 25 commentaires

La famille d’une victime du crash d’Ethiopian Airlines poursuit Boeing devant la justice à Chicago, l’accusant d’avoir mis sur le marché un 737 MAX au système de contrôle défectueux. L’Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC) a de son côté jugé en faveur de l’Union européenne dans le dossier des subventions, une « victoire majeure » pour Airbus.

La famille de l’employé des Nations Unies rwandais Jackson Musoni, tué dans le crash du vol ET302 d’Ethiopian Airlines (qui a entrainé la mort des 157 personnes à bord il y a presque trois semaines), a déposé plainte le 28 mars 2019 devant le tribunal fédéral de Chicago – où sont déjà examinés une trentaine de dossiers de victimes du crash de Lion Air en Indonésie en octobre dernier. Sans surprise, les plaignants mettent en cause le Boeing 737 MAX impliqué dans les deux accidents : la plainte déclare que l’accident du 10 mars produite a été cause « entre autres choses parce que Boeing a conçu de manière défectueuse un nouveau système de contrôle de vol pour le Boeing 737 Max 8, qui pousse automatiquement et à tort le nez de l’aéronef ». Selon leur avocat Steve Marks, le constructeur « connaissant tous les rapportsfaisant état de conditions dangereuses et de l’accident précédent ayant tué plus de 150 personnes, aurait dû prendre des mesures pour protéger le public voyageur ». Cet accident « est arrivé alors qu’il n’aurait jamais dû arriver », a-t-il ajouté. Cette plainte serait la première déposée aux Etats-Unis après le crash d’Ethiopian Airlines selon la presse américaine ; Boeing n’a pas commenté.

La poursuite a été intentée au lendemain de la présentation par le constructeur américain de la mise à jour du système MCAS qui va être proposée à la FAA, afin de mettre fin à l’immobilisation des 371 MAX 8 et MAX 9 déjà mis en service dans le monde – et de reprendre les livraisons. La formation des pilotes va également être modifiée, même si elle ne demandera toujours pas de passage par le simulateur de vol – un argument économique de poids en faveur du 737 MAX pour les compagnies aériennes souhaitant remplacer leurs 737 NG, et qui pourraient être tentées par la famille Airbus A320neo.

Boeing a subi un autre revers jeudi, venu cette fois de l’Organisation mondiale du commerce (OMC) : l’Organe d’appel de l’OMC a confirmé que les États-Unis « n’ont pas retiré les subventions accordées à Boeing par les autorités fédérales, des États et les autorités locales des États-Unis et n’ont pas remédié au préjudice que ces subventions ont causé à Airbus ». L’Organe d’appel a rejeté chacun des arguments avancés par les États-Unis et il a pris en compte tous les points juridiques de l’Union européenne, selon le communiqué de cette dernière et d’Airbus. En outre, la plus haute juridiction de l’OMC a également qualifié un certain nombre d’autres programmes fédéraux et des États américains « de subventions illégales, et même de subventions prohibées, comme dans le cas du régime FSC (Foreign Sales Corporation) », ce qui représente « une victoire majeure pour l’UE ». Ce rapport demande aux États-Unis et à Boeing de « prendre d’autres mesures » en vue de la mise en conformité ; en l’absence de toute réaction de leur part, l’Union européenne aura la possibilité de demander l’adoption de contre-mesures à l’encontre des importations de produits américains.

« Pour l’UE et Airbus, il s’agit là d’une nette victoire qui confirme notre position selon laquelle Boeing, tout en pointant du doigt Airbus, n’a pris aucune mesure pour se conformer à ses obligations envers l’OMC, contrairement à Airbus et à l’UE. Au vu de ce rapport préjudiciable, Boeing ne peut plus continuer à nier qu’il perçoit des subventions illégales massives de la part du gouvernement des États-Unis. Autrement dit, en l’absence de règlement, les États-Unis seront tenus de payer – à perpétuité – plusieurs milliards du fait de l’application de sanctions annuelles pour chaque programme Boeing en exploitation, alors que l’UE ne serait confrontée, dans le pire des cas, qu’à des problèmes mineurs », affirme John Harrison, General Counsel d’Airbus. « Nous espérons que ces conclusions inciteront les États-Unis et Boeing à progresser de manière constructive pour régler ce différend de longue date et à se joindre à nous pour œuvrer à instaurer un environnement commercial équitable. En l’absence d’une approche constructive, l’UE disposera désormais d’arguments juridiques très solides pour passer aux contre-mesures », a-t-il ajouté.

Boeing a de son côté déclaré que l’OMC avait rejeté « toute allégation de subventions illégales à Boeing à la seule exception d’une mesure – la taxe de commerce et d’occupation de l’État de Washington ». Vu de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, la décision est limitée : à l’exception du programme fiscal relativement limité de cet Etat (une centaine de millions de dollars), la décision de l’OMC ne permettrait pas à l’UE de réclamer des dommages et intérêts à un arbitre. Le niveau de rétorsion que l’Europe serait en mesure d’imposer aux biens et services américains repose sur le préjudice causé à Airbus plutôt que sur le montant de l’aide accordée à son rival américain ; les deux parties vont donc continuer à se battre sur les montants concernés.

Pour résumer ce conflit interminable qui semble ne servir que les politiciens et les avocats des deux côtés de l’Atlantique : depuis 2004, l’OMC a évalué à 26 milliards de dollars le montant des aides illégales perçues par Boeing, et à 22 milliards de dollars celle reçues par Airbus. Aucun n’a remboursé quoique ce soit – et aucun n’est prêt à lancer une guerre commerciale, vu les intérêts croisés sur le plan industriel de l’aéronautique américaine et européenne…

BUSINESS Boeing anti-stall system is activated in Ethiopia crash – source

Mike Sinnett, Boeing Vice President of Product Strategy, makes opening remarks during a press conference in Renton, Washington on March 27, 2019. – Embattled aviation giant Boeing will do all it can to prevent future crashes like the two that killed nearly 350 people in recent months, a company official said Wednesday. “We are going to do everything to make sure that accidents like this don’t happen again,” Mike Sinnet, Boeing’s vice president of product strategy, told reporters. (Photo by Jason Redmond / AFP)

NEW YORK, USA (UPDATED) – Boeing’s MCAS anti-stall system, which was implicated in the October crash of a 737 MAX 8 airliner in Indonesia, was also activated shortly before a recent accident in Ethiopia, a source with knowledge of the investigation said Friday, March 29.

The information is among the preliminary findings from the analysis of the “black boxes” retrieved from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed southeast of Addis Ababa on March 10, killing 157 people, the source told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on condition of anonymity.

The information retrieved from the plane’s voice and data recorders was presented Thursday, March 28, to US authorities, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the source said.

However, the source said the investigation is still underway and the findings are not yet definitive.

The information was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Boeing and the FAA declined to comment to AFP.

Ethiopian authorities have promised to submit the preliminary report on Flight 302 by mid-April but have already said that there are “clear similarities” between the two Max 8 crashes.

It was yet another blow to aviation giant Boeing, which just this week unveiled a fix to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that Boeing designed to prevent stalls in its new plane.

The aviation company has tried to restore its battered reputation, even while continuing to insist that the MAX is safe.

‘MCAS was the problem’

The family of 31-year-old Jackson Musoni, a Rwandan citizen who died in the Ethiopian Airlines accident, filed a lawsuit against Boeing on Thursday in a court in Chicago, where the company has its corporate headquarters. The suit accuses the aircraft manufacturer of designing a defective system.

The MCAS, which lowers the aircraft’s nose if it detects a stall or loss of airspeed, was developed specifically for the 737 MAX, which has heavier engines than its predecessor, creating aerodynamic issues.

The initial investigation into the October Lion Air crash in Indonesia, which killed all 189 people on board, found that an “angle of attack” (AOA) sensor failed but continued to transmit erroneous information to the MCAS.

The pilot tried repeatedly to regain control and pull the nose up, but the plane crashed into the ocean.

The flight track of the doomed Ethiopia Airlines flight, which also crashed minutes after takeoff, “was very similar to Lion Air (indicating) there was very possibly a link between the two flights,” FAA acting chief Daniel Elwell told Congress this week.

The FAA grounded the MAX fleet worldwide, but not until two days after most countries had done so.

That delay, along with an FAA policy allowing Boeing to certify some of its own safety features, has raised questions about whether regulators are too close to the industry.

Boeing on the defense

Elwell denied the agency was lax in its oversight, saying, “The certification process was detailed and thorough.”

He also seemed to cast doubt on the MCAS as the clear culprit, saying that data collected from 57,000 flights in the US since the MAX was introduced in 2017 revealed not a single reported MCAS malfunction.

However, Steven Marks, the lawyer for Jackson Musoni’s family, said information from the recent tragedies, as well as pilot reports, “made it crystal clear that the cause of these two crashes are the same.”

“There’s no question that MCAS was the problem” and that pilots were not aware of the system, he told AFP.

US pilots complained after the Lion Air crash that they had not been fully briefed on the system.

Musoni was among at least 22 United Nations employees killed in the Ethiopian crash.

Boeing also declined to comment on the lawsuit, but this week unveiled changes to the MCAS system that will be installed worldwide, once the FAA approves.

Among the changes, long in the works, the MCAS will no longer repeatedly make corrections when the pilot tries to regain control, and the company will install a warning feature – at no cost – to alert pilots when the left and right AOA sensors are out of sync.

The company also is revising pilot training, including for those already certified on the 737, to provide “enhanced understanding of the 737 MAX” flight system and crew procedures. – Rappler.com

US lawsuit filed against Boeing over Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people

Boeing Sued Over Ethiopia Crash as Plane Orders in Asia Waver

(Bloomberg) — Boeing Co. was sued on behalf of a passenger killed in this month’s 737 Max plane crash in Ethiopia and orders for the troubled aircraft wavered in Asia, deepening the planemaker’s legal and financial woes.

Chicago-based Boeing is under intense scrutiny after two crashes since October killed 346 people. As the company finalizes a software upgrade for the grounded 737 Max, it’s fighting to hang onto some customers whose confidence in the best-selling jet has been shaken. Boeing is also facing a criminal probe into how the plane was originally approved to fly.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the estate of Ethiopian Airlines passenger Jackson Musoni of Rwanda, claims the 737 Max 8 isn’t safely designed. The complaint follows earlier suits against the company over an October crash in Indonesia involving the same model. A Boeing spokeswoman declined to comment on Thursday’s complaint in a federal court in Chicago.

“The subject accident occurred because, among other things, Boeing defectively designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 Max 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down, and because Boeing failed to warn of the defect,” according to the complaint.

Late on Thursday, flag-carrier airline Garuda Indonesia said it’s going ahead with plans to cancel a $4.8 billion order for 49 Max 8s. Still, Garuda is sticking with Boeing and has asked the manufacturer for different aircraft. In Vietnam, Bamboo Airways agreed to buy as many as 26 narrow-body jets from Airbus SE, just a month after saying it was considering ordering as many as 25 Boeing 737 Max planes.

Boeing is preparing to submit final paperwork to U.S. regulators for a software upgrade for an anti-stall countermeasure on the 737 Max that investigators said in a preliminary report repeatedly pushed the nose down on the Max operated by Lion Air. In that case, the jet went into a dive prior to crashing into the Java Sea in October.

Authorities are probing whether the system was a factor in the March 10 crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet, which regulators said behaved similarly to the earlier downed plane.

Boeing faces the prospect of substantial payouts to the families of passengers if it’s found responsible for both the Indonesia and Ethiopia crashes. But legal experts say the second one could prove even more damaging for the company. That’s because plaintiffs will argue the manufacturer was put on notice by the earlier tragedy that there was something dangerously wrong with its planes that should have been fixed.

Steven C. Marks, the lawyer who filed Thursday’s complaint, criticized the certification process for the 737 Max 8, saying it amounted to an “amendment” of a 50-year-old model rather than a more rigorous approval process for a “new aircraft.”

‘Boeing and the FAA knew about the dangers and they failed to ground the fleet,’ said Marks, who also is suing over the Lion Air crash. He said the similarities between the two accidents are “very clear.”

The single-aisle Max family is the Chicago-based planemaker’s largest seller and accounts for almost one-third of the company’s operating profit.

The crashes have put Boeing and the FAA under withering scrutiny, with multiple investigations being launched into the agency’s certification of the 737 Max and its reliance on FAA-designated company employees to certify the safety of many of the planes’ functions.

After the FAA grounded the 737 Max jets in the days following the Ethiopia crash, the manufacturer said it still has “full confidence” in the plane. Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said the company was doing everything it could to understand the cause of the accidents, deploy safety enhancements and ensure that no more crashes happen.

The case is Debets v. Boeing Co., 1:19-cv-02170, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

(Updates with scrapped Boeing order by Garuda, and Bamboo’s choice of Airbus planes in the fifth paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Peter Blumberg in San Francisco at pblumberg1@bloomberg.net;Janan Hanna in Chicago at jhanna31@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Elizabeth Wollman at ewollman@bloomberg.net

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Boeing Sued Over Ethiopian Airlines Crash As Political Woes Deepen

Boeing Co. was sued on behalf of a passenger killed in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight over claims that its 737 Max 8 isn’t safely designed, deepening the legal and political woes the planemaker faces.

The Chicago-based company is under intense scrutiny after two crashes less than half a year apart killed 346 people. The U.S. aerospace giant lost billions of dollars in market value in the days after the Ethiopia crash as nation after nation announced they were barring the aircraft from flying. Even as the company tries to restore confidence in the 737 Max, it’s facing a criminal probe and questions from lawmakers over whether it has too cozy a relationship with its U.S. regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration.

The suit was filed on behalf of the estate of passenger Jackson Musoni of Rwanda. The complaint follows earlier suits against the company over the October crash. A Boeing spokeswoman declined to comment on Thursday’s complaint in federal court in Chicago.

“The subject accident occurred because, among other things, Boeing defectively designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down, and because Boeing failed to warn of the defect,” according to the complaint.

Boeing is preparing to submit final paperwork to U.S. regulators for a software upgrade for an anti-stall countermeasure on the 737 Max that investigators said in a preliminary report repeatedly pushed the nose down on the Max operated by Lion Air. In that case, the jet went into a dive prior to crashing into the Java Sea in October.

Authorities are probing whether the system was a factor in the March 10 crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet, which regulators said behaved similarly to the earlier downed plane.

Boeing faces the prospect of substantial payouts to the families of passengers if it’s found responsible for both the Indonesia and Ethiopia crashes. But legal experts say the second one could prove even more damaging for the company. That’s because plaintiffs will argue the manufacturer was put on notice by the earlier tragedy that there was something dangerously wrong with its planes that should have been fixed.

Steven Marks, the lawyer who filed Thursday’s complaint, criticized the certification process for the 737 Max 8, saying it amounted to an “amendment” of a 50-year-old model rather than a more rigorous approval process for a “new aircraft.”

“Boeing and the FAA knew about the dangers and they failed to ground the fleet,” said Marks, who also is suing over the Lion Air crash. He said the similarities between the two accidents are “very clear.”

The single-aisle Max family is the Chicago-based planemaker’s largest seller and accounts for almost one-third of the company’s operating profit.

The crashes have put Boeing and the FAA under withering scrutiny, with multiple investigations being launched into the agency’s certification of the 737 Max and its reliance on FAA-designated company employees to certify the safety of many of the planes’ functions.

After the FAA grounded the 737 Max jets in the days following the Ethiopia crash, the manufacturer said it still has “full confidence” in the plane. Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said the company was doing everything it could to understand the cause of the accidents, deploy safety enhancements and ensure that no more crashes happen.

FAMILY OF RWANDAN VICTIM SUES BOEING OVER ETHIOPIAN CRASH

Sam Mpofu

The family of Jackson Musoni, a Rwandan, who died in the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash where 156 other passengers also died, has filed a lawsuit against Boeing Co. at a federal court in Chicago, where Boeing is headquartered.

Boeing is accused of “defectively” designing “a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 Max 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down,” and of failing “to warn of the defect.” Boeing has declined comment on the lawsuit.

The suit also claims that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) delegated authority to Boeing to approve portions of the aircraft certification process and assisted Boeing in rushing the delivery of the Max 8, which resulted in “several crucial flaws” in the safety analysis report Boeing ultimately delivered to the FAA.

At a United States Congress hearing on Wednesday, the acting FAA administrator defended the government’s oversight approach.

A Lion Air crash which happened months ago under similar circumstances as the Ethiopian Airline crash has also led different lawsuits against Boeing.

“Boeing, having knowledge of all the reports of dangerous conditions and the previous accident that killed over 150 people, should have taken steps to protect the flying public,” said Steve Marks, an attorney with the Miami-based law firm Podhurst Orseck, who is representing the Musoni family. “This accident happened when it should have never happened.”

On Wednesday, Boeing announced a software update to the 737 Max fleet, which it said would prevent erroneous data from triggering the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) anti-stall system, which is suspected to have played a role in both crashes.

Musoni, 31, was a field coordinator with the United Nations Refugee Agency based in East Darfur, Sudan. He was one of 19 U.N. aid workers and staffers who were on board Ethiopian Flight 302 that crashed on March 10.

Boeing faces lawsuit over crashed Ethiopian Airlines 737

Thursday, relatives of Rwandan man and United Nations employee Jackson Musoni filed a wrongful death lawsuit in United States federal court in Chicago against the airframe company Boeing. Musoni was one of 157 people killed March 10 when an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX Flight 302 crashed on a runway in Addis Ababa during takeoff.

The Boeing 737 MAX that crashed in Addis Ababa, here shown in February.
Image: LLBG Spotter.

As stated in the lawsuit, Boeing produced planes with defective automated flight control systems. The Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed after its autopilot erroneously told the flesh-and-blood pilots that the plane’s nose was too far up, threatening a stall. The system over-corrected, sending the plane nose-down back into the ground. This was the second such crash in five months, with an Lion Air craft in Indonesia having gone down in October 2018, killing 189.

“Boeing negligently failed to warn the public, the airlines, the pilots, the users, and the intended third-party beneficiaries of the 7387 Max 8’s unreasonably dangerous and defective design,” read the lawsuit, “including that the aircraft automatically and uncontrollably dived partly because of erroneous sensors.”

“Boeing, having knowledge of all the reports of dangerous conditions and the previous accident that killed over 150 people, should have taken steps to protect the flying public,” said the Musonis’ lawyer Steve Marks. “This accident happened when it should have never happened.” Boeing also announced a design change to the 737 MAX: It has reprogrammed the automated flight system, and an additional warning system is to be sold standard instead of as an option.

In the United States, congressional hearings on the Federal Aviation Administration’s oversight of the 737 MAX began on Wednesday, part of a series of investigations into the approval of the 737 MAX for use that also include the Justice Department and Department of Transportation. The 737 MAX is Boeing’s newest plane, having begun use in 2017.

Boeing declined to comment on the lawsuit but Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg spoke more generally of the crashes earlier this week: “Since the moment we learned of the recent 737 Max accidents, we’ve thought about the lives lost and the impact it has on people around the globe and throughout the aerospace community. All those involved have had to deal with unimaginable pain. We’re humbled by their resilience and inspired by their courage.”

Boeing Being Sued After Ethiopian Airlines Crash

LUIS AURELIANO

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.

Boeing: prosecution of a family of victims, condemnation of the WTO

One’s family Ethiopian Airlines crash victim keep it going Boeing in Chicago, accusing him of having put on the market a 737 MAX to the defective control system. The World Trade Organization (WTO), for its part, ruled in favor of the European Union in the matter of subsidies, a “great victory” for Airbus.

The family of UN employee Jackson Musoni, killed in the crash of the flight ET302Ethiopian Airlines (which led to the death of 157 people on board almost three weeks ago), filed a complaint on March 28, 2019 at the Federal Court of Chicago – where thirty rows of victims of the Lion Air crash in Indonesia have already been examined last October. Not surprisingly, the complainants question the Boeing 737 MAXinvolved in both incidents: the complaint states that the March 10 incident occurred due to ” among other things, because Boeing has designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 Max 8, which automatically and wrongly pushes the nose of the aircraft “According to their lawyer Steve Marks, the builder knowing all the reportsreporting on dangerous conditions and the previous accident that caused the death of over 150 people, should have taken measures to protect the traveling public “. This incident” it happened when it should never have arrived He added. This complaint would have been the first one presented in the United States after the collapse of Ethiopian Airlines according to the US press; Boeing did not comment.

The lawsuit was filed the day after the US manufacturer submitted its update MCAS system which will be proposed to DO, in order to stop the immobilization of the 371 MAX 8 and MAX 9 already in service worldwide – and to resume deliveries. the pilot training it will also be modified, although it will not yet require passage through the flight simulator – a weighty economic argument in favor of the 737 MAX for airlines wishing to replace their 737 NG, and which could be tried by the Airbus A320neo family.

Boeing suffered another shutdown Thursday, coming this time from World Trade Organization (WTO): The organ of appeal of the WTO confirmed that the United States ” he did not retire subsidies granted to Boeing by federal, state and local authorities in the United States and have not remedied the damage caused by these subsidies to Airbus “. The organ of appeal has rejected each of the arguments put forward by the United States and has taken into consideration all the legal points of the European Union, according to the declaration of this last eAirbus. In addition, the highest court of the WTO has also qualified a number of other federal and state programs in the United States ” of illegal subsidiesand even prohibited subsidies, as in the case of the FSC (Foreign Sales Corporation) “Which represents” a great victory for the EU “. This report calls on the United States and Boeing to take other measures“For compliance; in the absence of any reaction on their part, the European Union may request the adoption of countermeasures against imports of US products.

” For the EU and Airbus, this is a clear victory that confirms our position that Boeing, while identifying Airbus, has not taken any action to comply with its obligations. WTO, unlike Airbus and the EU. In light of this harmful relationship, Boeing can no longer continue to deny that it is receiving huge illegal subsidies from the US government. In other words, in the absence of an agreement, the United States will be required to to pay – perpetually – several billions the application of annual sanctions for each Boeing program in operation, while in the worst case the EU would do so only minor problems Says John Harrison, General Counsel of Airbus. ” We hope these conclusions will encourage the United States and Boeing to make constructive progress in resolving this longstanding dispute and join us in working for a fair trade environment. In the absence of a constructive approach, the EU will now have very strong legal arguments for moving towards countermeasures He added.

Boeing stated that the WTO had rejected ” any accusation of illegal subsidies to Boeing with the sole exception of one measure: the trade tax and the occupation of Washington “. Seen from the other side of the Atlantic, the decision is limited: with the exception of the relatively limited fiscal program of this state (one hundred million dollars), the decision of the WTO would not allow the decision. EU to demand damages from an arbitrator The level of retaliation that Europe would be able to impose on US goods and services is based on the damage done to Airbus rather than on the amount of aid granted to its American rival; both the parties will continue to fight the amounts involved.

To sum up this interminable conflict that seems to serve only politicians and lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic: since 2004, the WTO estimated the amount of illegal aid received by Boeing and $ 22 billion received from Airbus at $ 26 billion. No one has returned anything – and nobody is ready to launch a trade war, given the crossed industrial interests of the American and European aviation …

https://www.air-journal.fr/2019-03-29-boeing-poursuite-dune-famille-de-victime-condamnation-de-lomc-5211442.html

‘Failed to warn of the defect’: Boeing sued by family of Ethiopian Airlines passenger

Boeing was sued on behalf of a passenger killed in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flightover claims that its 737 Max 8 isn’t safely designed, deepening the legal and political woes the planemaker faces.

The company is under intense scrutiny after two crashes less than half a year apart killed 346 people. The US aerospace giant lost billions of dollars in market value in the days after the Ethiopia crash as nation after nation announced they were barring the aircraft from flying. Even as the company tries to restore confidence in the 737 Max, it’s facing a criminal probe and questions from lawmakers over whether it has too cozy a relationship with its US regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration.

The suit was filed on behalf of the estate of passenger Jackson Musoni of Rwanda. The complaint follows earlier suits against the company over the October crash. A Boeing spokeswoman declined to comment on Thursday’s complaint in federal court in Chicago.

“The subject accident occurred because, among other things, Boeing defectively designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down, and because Boeing failed to warn of the defect,” according to the complaint.

Boeing is preparing to submit final paperwork to US regulators for a software upgrade for an anti-stall countermeasure on the 737 Max that investigators said in a preliminary report repeatedly pushed the nose down on the Max operated by Lion Air. In that case, the jet went into a dive prior to crashing into the Java Sea in October.

Authorities are probing whether the system was a factor in the March 10 crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet, which regulators said behaved similarly to the earlier downed plane.

Boeing faces the prospect of substantial payouts to the families of passengers if it’s found responsible for both the Indonesia and Ethiopia crashes. But legal experts say the second one could prove even more damaging for the company. That’s because plaintiffs will argue the manufacturer was put on notice by the earlier tragedy that there was something dangerously wrong with its planes that should have been fixed.

Steven C. Marks, the lawyer who filed Thursday’s complaint, criticised the certification process for the 737 Max 8, saying it amounted to an “amendment” of a 50-year-old model rather than a more rigorous approval process for a “new aircraft.”

‘Boeing and the FAA knew about the dangers and they failed to ground the fleet,’ said Marks, who also is suing over the Lion Air crash. He said the similarities between the two accidents are “very clear.”

The single-aisle Max family is the Chicago-based planemaker’s largest seller and accounts for almost one-third of the company’s operating profit.

The crashes have put Boeing and the FAA under withering scrutiny, with multiple investigations being launched into the agency’s certification of the 737 Max and its reliance on FAA-designated company employees to certify the safety of many of the planes’ functions.

After the FAA grounded the 737 Max jets in the days following the Ethiopia crash, the manufacturer said it still has “full confidence” in the plane.

Boeing chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg said the company was doing everything it could to understand the cause of the accidents, deploy safety enhancements and ensure that no more crashes happen.

Schafft Boeing ein Comeback der 737 Max?

Sie waren auf dem Weg zu einer Safari in Kenia. Familie Vaidya, drei Generationen, angereist aus dem kanadischen Brampton. Zwei Kinder, ihre Eltern und Großeltern, zwischen 13 und 73 Jahren alt, starben beim Absturz einer Boeing 737 Max 8 in Äthiopien. Viele Angehörige der insgesamt 157 Toten kämpfen inzwischen nicht nur mit ihrer Trauer, sondern auch gegen den US-Flugzeugbauer, dem sie große Versäumnisse vorwerfen.

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Die Klagewelle gegen Boeing rollt in diesen Tagen an. Seit dem Unglück vor drei Wochen werben US-Kanzleien unter den Angehörigen um Mandanten. Hätte Boeing nicht „unglaublich versagt“, wären die Abstürze der baugleichen Maschinen in Äthiopien und zuvor in Indonesien nicht passiert, behauptet Reed Kathrein von Hagens Berman in Seattle, wo Boeings größte Fabrik steht. Die Großkanzlei hatte während der Dieselaffäre auch Volkswagen zugesetzt.

Der erste Rechtsstreit zum Absturz in Äthiopien wurde am Donnerstag in Chicago eröffnet, wo Boeings Zentrale liegt. Die Angehörigen eines bei dem Unglück getöteten UN-Mitarbeiters werfen Hersteller Boeing vor, dass die 737 Max 8 fehlerhaft entwickelt worden sei und der Flugzeugbauer die Schulung der Piloten vernachlässigt habe. Ähnlich lauten die Vorwürfe, die Angehörigen der in Indonesien getöteten Passagiere zuvor vor Gerichten eingereicht haben. Boeing weist die Anschuldigungen zurück.

Steuerungssoftware unter Verdacht

Sammelklagen sind in den USA nach Unglücken üblich. Im äthiopischen Fall sind sie für Boeing aber besonders brenzlig, weil es um die Frage geht, warum der Hersteller nach dem ersten 737-Max-Absturz in Indonesien nicht anders reagierte. Denn bereits damals stand die neue Steuerungssoftware MCASunter Verdacht.

Die Frage bringt auch die zuständige US-Luftfahrtbehörde FAA in Bedrängnis. „Boeing und FAA wussten von den Gefahren und sie haben kein Startverbot verhängt“, kritisierte Anwalt Steven Marks, der die Klage in Chicago eingereicht hatte. Sollten Gerichte dieser Ansicht folgen, bekäme der Fall juristisch eine völlig andere Dimension. Dann könnte es nicht nur hunderte Millionen an Schadensersatz gehen, sondern auch um zusätzliche Strafzahlungen in Milliardenhöhe.

Die Bundespolizei FBI und das US-Justizministerium untersuchen US-Medien zufolge auch, ob Boeing bei der Zulassung des Flugzeugs womöglich Informationen über die Komplexität der Steuerungssoftware unterschlagen hat und ob die traditionell enge Zusammenarbeit mit der FAA vielleicht allzu eng war – und die Behörden noch viel genauer hätten hinschauen müssen. Darum geht es inzwischen auch diesseits des Atlantiks.

5000 Bestellungen in den Büchern

Am Freitag wurde bekannt, dass auch die europäischen Flugsicherheitsbehörden schon länger wussten, wie komplex die Bedienung der neuen Steuerungssoftware für Piloten ist. „Die europäische Aufsicht EASA zertifizierte das Flugzeug auf der Basis, dass zusätzliche Prozesse und Trainings die Piloten darüber aufklärten“, berichtete Reuters. Demnach hätten die Piloten die Möglichkeit, mit einem manuellen „Trimmrad“ das Flugzeug neu auszurichten. Das war bei den Abstürzen aber nicht gelungen.

Bei der abgestürzten Lion-Air-Maschine in Indonesien gehen die Ermittler bereits davon aus, dass das automatische Kontrollsystem MCAS die Nase des Flugzeugs immer wieder nach unten drückte, weil ein Sensor fehlerhafte Daten über die Lage übermittelte. Die Piloten versuchten gegenzusteuern – vergeblich. In den von Boeing an Lion Air übergebenen Trainingsunterlagen sei nicht erklärt worden, wie Piloten das Trimmrad bedienen könnten, so ein Insider zu Reuters. Am Freitag wurde bekannt, dass sich auch beim Absturz in Äthiopien laut AFP-Information die Hinweise auf MCAS als Ursache für das Unglück mehren.

Um wieder eine Starterlaubnis für die 370 aktuell stillgelegten 737 Max zu bekommen, überarbeitet Boeing gerade die Software, die dann von den Behörden neu genehmigt werden muss. Davon hängt nun die Zukunft der Baureihe ab. Es ist die wichtigste des Konzerns. 5000 Bestellungen zu offiziellen Stückpreisen ab 100 Millionen Dollar hatte Boeing vor den Unglücken in den Büchern stehen.

Die Fluglinien warten

Die neuen, sparsameren Max-Maschinen, mit denen Boeing auf die A320neo von Airbus reagierte, sollten eigentlich die lange Erfolgsgeschichte der 737 fortschreiben, die bereits in den 1960er Jahren begann. Die Modellreihe ist der am meisten gebaute Flugzeugtyp überhaupt. Aktuell stornieren Airlines aber Aufträge. Garuda Indonesia etwa verzichtet auf die Auslieferung von 49 Maschinen im Wert von knapp fünf Milliarden Dollar. Aber das sind bislang Ausnahmen.

Geht es nach Airline-Investor Warren Buffett, bleibt es eine Momentaufnahme. Der Milliardär und drittreichste Mensch der Welt ist an allen vier großen US-Fluglinien beteiligt: Delta, United, Southwest und American Airlines. „Boeing hat offensichtlich viel Arbeit vor sich“, sagte Buffett dem US-Sender CNBC. Das ändere aber nichts daran, dass die Luftfahrt insgesamt sicher sei. Buffetts Botschaft: Boeing wird sich wieder berappeln, so wie nach den anfänglichen Problemen mit der 787 Dreamliner, die innerhalb von drei Monaten behoben wurden.

Viele Fluglinien hoffen darauf, dass die 737 Max bald wieder starten darf – auch, damit sich Airbus und Boeing weiterhin einen Preiskampf in dem Segment liefern. Lufthansa-Chef Carsten Spohr war deshalb wohl nicht nur höflich gegenüber seinen Gastgebern, als er bei einem Besuch in New York Boeing beiseite sprang.

Boeing habe über die Jahrzehnte „wundervolle“ Flugzeuge gebaut und auch nach den zwei Abstürzten sein Vertrauen „nicht verloren“, sagte Spohr. Die Sicherheitsprobleme bekämen die Amerikaner sicher schnell in den Griff, so der Tenor. Boeings geschwächte Verhandlungsposition könnte sich schon bald auch in großzügigen Rabatten für die Deutschen niederschlagen: Lufthansa will nächstes Jahr gleich eine ganze Flotte mit mehr als 100 neuen Flugzeugen in Auftrag geben.

Boeing Sued by Passenger Killed in Ethiopian Airlines Crash

By Peter Blumberg and Janan Hanna | March 29, 2019

Boeing Co. was sued on behalf of a passenger killed in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight over claims that its 737 Max 8 isn’t safely designed, deepening the legal and political woes the planemaker faces.

The Chicago-based company is under intense scrutiny after two crashes less than half a year apart killed 346 people. The U.S. aerospace giant lost billions of dollars in market value in the days after the Ethiopia crash as nation after nation announced they were barring the aircraft from flying. Even as the company tries to restore confidence in the 737 Max, it’s facing a criminal probe and questions from lawmakers over whether it has too cozy a relationship with its U.S. regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration.

The suit was filed on behalf of the estate of passenger Jackson Musoni of Rwanda. The complaint follows earlier suits against the company over the October crash. A Boeing spokeswoman declined to comment on Thursday’s complaint in federal court in Chicago.

“The subject accident occurred because, among other things, Boeing defectively designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down, and because Boeing failed to warn of the defect,” according to the complaint.

Boeing is preparing to submit final paperwork to U.S. regulators for a software upgrade for an anti-stall countermeasure on the 737 Max that investigators said in a preliminary report repeatedly pushed the nose down on the Max operated by Lion Air. In that case, the jet went into a dive prior to crashing into the Java Sea in October.

Authorities are probing whether the system was a factor in the March 10 crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet, which regulators said behaved similarly to the earlier downed plane.

Boeing faces the prospect of substantial payouts to the families of passengers if it’s found responsible for both the Indonesia and Ethiopia crashes. But legal experts say the second one could prove even more damaging for the company. That’s because plaintiffs will argue the manufacturer was put on notice by the earlier tragedy that there was something dangerously wrong with its planes that should have been fixed.

Steven C. Marks, the lawyer who filed Thursday’s complaint, criticized the certification process for the 737 Max 8, saying it amounted to an “amendment” of a 50-year-old model rather than a more rigorous approval process for a “new aircraft.”

“Boeing and the FAA knew about the dangers and they failed to ground the fleet,” said Marks, who also is suing over the Lion Air crash. He said the similarities between the two accidents are “very clear.”

The single-aisle Max family is the Chicago-based planemaker’s largest seller and accounts for almost one-third of the company’s operating profit.

The crashes have put Boeing and the FAA under withering scrutiny, with multiple investigations being launched into the agency’s certification of the 737 Max and its reliance on FAA-designated company employees to certify the safety of many of the planes’ functions.

After the FAA grounded the 737 Max jets in the days following the Ethiopia crash, the manufacturer said it still has “full confidence” in the plane. Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said the company was doing everything it could to understand the cause of the accidents, deploy safety enhancements and ensure that no more crashes happen.

The case is Debets v. Boeing Co., 1:19-cv-02170, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

Investigators say anti-stall system activated before Ethiopian Airlines crash

Airplane engine parts at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines crash

Investigators in the deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight have reached a preliminary conclusion that the Boeing 737 MAX 8’s automated anti-stall system was activated before the jet plunged to the ground, according to a report.

The finding — based on information from the doomed jet’s black boxes — shows that the malfunctioning Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, may have caused the March 10 crash, which killed 157 people, The Wall Street Journal reported.

It also is a strong link to the Indonesian Lion Air MAX 8 that experienced similar problems when it crashed Oct. 29, killing all 186 people aboard.

Citing people with knowledge about the probe, the Journal said the consensus among investigators was revealed during a high-level briefing at the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday.

An Ethiopian Ministry of Transport spokesman said he knew nothing about the report. Ethiopian officials were expected to release their preliminary findings shortly.

Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges previously said that data from the black boxes showed “clear similarities were noted” between both fatal flights.

Boeing, which this week unveiled a fix to the much-maligned system, and the FAA have not commented about the preliminary finding, which people briefed on the matter told the Journal is subject to revisions.

Officials have said the both planes followed similar erratic flight paths — climbing and descending before crashing a few minutes after takeoff.

The MCAS is designed to automatically point the nose of the plane down if it senses potential for a loss of lift, or aerodynamic stall.

The system’s software takes readings from two so-called angle-of-attack sensors, which determine how much of the nose is pointing up or down relative to the flow of air.

In another development, Reuters reported Friday that US and European regulators knew at least two years before the Indonesian disaster that the usual method for controlling the MAX’s nose angle might not work in conditions similar to those in the two recent crashes.

The European Aviation and Space Agency certified the plane as safe partly because it said additional training would “clearly explain” to pilots the “unusual” situations in which they would need to manipulate a rarely used manual wheel to control, or “trim,” the plane’s angle.

But those scenarios were not listed in the flight manual, according to a copy from American Airlines seen by Reuters.

EASA and the FAA ultimately determined that set-up was safe enough for the plane to be certified.

Meanwhile, the family of Rwandan citizen Jackson Musoni, a UN worker who was killed in the Ethiopian crash, has filed a lawsuit against Boeing in Chicago federal court, alleging that the plane maker had defectively designed the anti-stall system.

“Boeing, having knowledge of all the reports of dangerous conditions and the previous accident that killed over 150 people, should have taken steps to protect the flying public,” said attorney Steve Marks, who is representing Musoni’s relatives, the Washington Post reported.

“This accident happened when it should have never happened,” he said.

Boeing said it could not comment on the lawsuit.

“Boeing … is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available,” it said, adding all inquiries about the investigation must be directed to the investigating authorities.

Boeing’s 737 MAX planes will remain grounded around the world until the FAA and other agencies certify the software fix and crews are trained on the revised system.

Boeing anti-stall system was activated in Ethiopia crash: source

The two planes’ flight recorders provided the strongest indication yet that an anti-stall system malfunctioned in both the Ethiopian Airlines crash of March 10, 2019 — the aftermath of which is seen here — and Lion Air’s 2018 crash in Indonesia

Boeing’s MCAS anti-stall system, which was implicated in the October crash of a 737 MAX 8 airliner in Indonesia, was also activated shortly before a recent accident in Ethiopia, a source with knowledge of the investigation said Friday.

The information is among the preliminary findings from the analysis of the “black boxes” retrieved from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed southeast of Addis Ababa on March 10, killing 157 people, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The information retrieved from the plane’s voice and data recorders was presented Thursday to US authorities, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the source said.

However, the source said the investigation is still underway and the findings are not yet definitive.

The information was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Boeing and the FAA declined to comment to AFP.

Ethiopian authorities have promised to submit the preliminary report on Flight 302 by mid-April but have already said that there are “clear similarities” between the two Max 8 crashes.

It was yet another blow to aviation giant Boeing, which just this week unveiled a fix to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that Boeing designed to prevent stalls in its new plane.

The aviation company has tried to restore its battered reputation, even while continuing to insist that the MAX is safe.

– ‘MCAS was the problem’ –

Indonesian air safety officials Soerjanto Tjahjono (R), and Nurcahyo briefed journalists in Jakarta during a March 21, 2019 news conference about the Lion Air crash in 2018

The family of 31-year-old Jackson Musoni, a Rwandan citizen who died in the Ethiopian Airlines accident, filed a lawsuit against Boeing on Thursday in a court in Chicago, where the company has its corporate headquarters. The suit accuses the aircraft manufacturer of designing a defective system.

The MCAS, which lowers the aircraft’s nose if it detects a stall or loss of airspeed, was developed specifically for the 737 MAX, which has heavier engines than its predecessor, creating aerodynamic issues.

The initial investigation into the October Lion Air crash in Indonesia, which killed all 189 people on board, found that an “angle of attack” (AOA) sensor failed but continued to transmit erroneous information to the MCAS.

The pilot tried repeatedly to regain control and pull the nose up, but the plane crashed into the ocean.

The flight track of the doomed Ethiopia Airlines flight, which also crashed minutes after takeoff, “was very similar to Lion Air (indicating) there was very possibly a link between the two flights,” FAA acting chief Daniel Elwell told Congress this week.

The FAA grounded the MAX fleet worldwide, but not until two days after most countries had done so.

That delay, along with an FAA policy allowing Boeing to certify some of its own safety features, has raised questions about whether regulators are too close to the industry.

– Boeing on the defense –

Acting FAA administrator Daniel Elwell, seen here testifying before a Senate committee on March 27, 2019, has insisted that the certification of Boeing’s Max 8 airplanes was “detailed and thorough

Elwell denied the agency was lax in its oversight, saying, “The certification process was detailed and thorough.”

He also seemed to cast doubt on the MCAS as the clear culprit, saying that data collected from 57,000 flights in the US since the MAX was introduced in 2017 revealed not a single reported MCAS malfunction.

However, Steven Marks, the lawyer for Jackson Musoni’s family, said information from the recent tragedies, as well as pilot reports, “made it crystal clear that the cause of these two crashes are the same.”

“There’s no question that MCAS was the problem” and that pilots were not aware of the system, he told AFP.

US pilots complained after the Lion Air crash that they had not been fully briefed on the system.

Musoni was among at least 22 United Nations employees killed in the Ethiopian crash.

Boeing also declined to comment on the lawsuit, but this week unveiled changes to the MCAS system that will be installed worldwide, once the FAA approves.

Among the changes, long in the works, the MCAS will no longer repeatedly make corrections when the pilot tries to regain control, and the company will install a warning feature — at no cost — to alert pilots when the left and right AOA sensors are out of sync.

The company also is revising pilot training, including for those already certified on the 737, to provide “enhanced understanding of the 737 MAX” flight system and crew procedures.

Victim’s Family Sues Boeing Over Ethiopian Airlines Crash

By Emily Field

Law360 (March 28, 2019, 7:48 PM EDT) — The children of a man who died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash hit Boeing with a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday that appears to be the first suit filed over the March 10 disaster.

In the suit filed in Illinois federal court, the family of Rwandan citizen Jackson Musoni says the flight stabilization system in the Boeing 737 MAX 8, now grounded worldwide, is defectively designed and leaves pilots unable to regain control when the automatic flight control system pushes the plane into a dive.

The family also says that technical experts with the Federal Aviation Administration were pressed by higher-ups during the aircraft’s certification process to delegate more authority to Boeing, which was under pressure to bring the jet to the market as it competed with a European rival.

Steven Marks of Podhurst Orseck PA, counsel for the family, told Law360 Thursday he believes the suit is the first to be filed over the crash that killed 157 people.

The FAA’s approval of the MAX 8 has come under intense scrutiny recently after the crash earlier this month, as well as the Lion Air Flight 610 crash in the Java Sea that killed 189 in October.

Senators at a Wednesday hearing criticized the agency’s Organization Designation Authorization program, which outsources certain parts of the certification process. One lawmaker said the FAA put the fox in charge of the hen house.

The U.S. Department of Justice has also reportedly launched a criminal probe into the development and federal approval of the Boeing 737 MAX jets, while the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General has initiated an audit of FAA’s certification of the aircraft.

“The real question in this case is how did the 737 obtain a supplemental or amended type certificate when there were substantial changes to the air frame and the engines and the aerodynamic operation of the aircraft?” Marks said.

Musoni’s family said Boeing’s safety analysis understated the power of the MAX 8’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, an automated feature that’s part of the plane’s anti-stall system. The system was added after Boeing redesigned the 737’s platform for the MAX, according to the suit.

But Boeing didn’t tell pilots about the system or that it might cause the plane to pitch down or force it into a cycle of dives, the family said. The company also didn’t tell pilots how to handle the plane when the MCAS forces repeated dives, according to the suit.

The family’s suit also cites complaints filed in a federal database by pilots voicing safety concerns about the planes, including one that said it was “unconscionable that Boeing and the FAA allowed pilots to fly the planes without adequate training or fully disclosing how the systems differed from previous 737 models.”

Boeing on Wednesday said it’s almost finished with a software update for the MCAS feature and it has met with more than 200 airline pilots, technical leaders and government regulators to review and demonstrate the update.

A Boeing spokesman told Law360 the company couldn’t comment on the suit.

“We offer our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those onboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Boeing continues to support the investigation, and is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available,” the spokesman said.

Counsel information for Boeing wasn’t immediately available on Thursday.

The family is represented by Steven Marks of Podhurst Orseck PA, and Andrew T. Hays and Sarah Buck of Hays Firm LLC.

The case is Debets v. Boeing Co., case number 1:19-cv-02170 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

–Additional reporting by Linda Chiem. Editing by Amy Rowe.

‘Failed to warn of the defect’: Boeing sued over Ethiopia crash

Published time: 29 Mar, 2019 09:53

A lawsuit was filed against Boeing in a US federal court on Thursday in what appears to be the first litigation over the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash which killed 157 people.

The lawsuit was filed in Chicago federal court by the family of Jackson Musoni, a citizen of Rwanda. It alleges that Boeing, which manufactures the 737 MAX, had defectively designed the automated flight control system. It follows earlier suits against the US company over the October Indonesia crash.

“The subject accident occurred because, among other things, Boeing defectively designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 MAX 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down, and because Boeing failed to warn of the defect,” the complaint said.

Also on rt.com Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash: Questions that remain unansweredSteven Marks, the lawyer who filed the complaint, has criticized the certification process for the 737 Max 8, saying it amounted to an “amendment” of a 50-year-old model rather than a more rigorous approval process for a “new aircraft.”

“Boeing and the FAA knew about the dangers and they failed to ground the fleet,” said Marks, who also is suing over the Lion Air crash which happened in Indonesia. He said the similarities between the two accidents are “very clear.”

Boeing said it could not comment on the lawsuit. According to the company’s spokesperson, who was cited by the Guardian, it “… is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available.” All inquiries about the ongoing accident investigation must be directed to the investigating authorities, the spokesperson said.

Also on rt.com Airlines lining up for Boeing compensation over grounded jetsThe US aerospace giant is under intense scrutiny after two crashes, less than six months apart, killed 346 people. It is facing a criminal probe and questions from lawmakers over whether it has too cozy a relationship with its US regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration.

The company will have to make substantial payouts to the families of passengers if it’s found responsible for both the Indonesia and Ethiopia crashes. Experts say the second accident could prove even more damaging for the company because plaintiffs will argue the manufacturer was put on notice by the earlier tragedy.

Also on rt.com Boeing’s latest crashes pose serious risk to global AI development – analystsThe world’s biggest aircraft manufacturer Boeing lost billions of dollars in market value in the days after the Ethiopia crash as regulators grounded all MAX 8s across the globe.

The company is now preparing to submit final paperwork to US regulators for a software upgrade to an anti-stall countermeasure on the 737 MAX which investigators said, in a preliminary report, repeatedly pushed the nose down on the MAX operated by Lion Air.

Boeing sued over crash as political woes deepen

By Wire services
Published: March 28, 2019, 4:57 PM

Boeing Co. was sued on behalf of a passenger killed in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight over claims that its 737 Max 8 isn’t safely designed, deepening the legal and political woes the planemaker faces.

The Chicago-based company is under intense scrutiny after two crashes less than half a year apart killed 346 people.

Even as the company tries to restore confidence in the 737 Max, it’s facing a criminal probe and questions from lawmakers over whether it has too cozy a relationship with its U.S. regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration.

The suit was filed on behalf of the estate of passenger Jackson Musoni of Rwanda. The complaint follows earlier suits against the company over the October crash. A Boeing spokeswoman declined to comment on Thursday’s complaint in federal court in Chicago.

“The subject accident occurred because, among other things, Boeing defectively designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 Max 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down, and because Boeing failed to warn of the defect,” according to the complaint.

Steven Marks, the lawyer who filed Thursday’s complaint, criticized the certification process for the 737 Max 8, saying it amounted to an “amendment” of a 50-year-old model rather than a more rigorous approval process for a “new aircraft.”

“Boeing and the FAA knew about the dangers and they failed to ground the fleet,” said Marks, who also is suing over the Lion Air crash. He said the similarities between the accidents are “very clear.”

The single-aisle Max family is the Chicago-based planemaker’s largest seller and accounts for almost one-third of the company’s operating profit.

FAA thinks anti-stall system was a factor in deadly crash, source says

Arlington, Va. — A source told CBS News black box data from Ethiopian Air flight 302, which crashed earlier this month just after takeoff, has given Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials a growing sense that the 737 Max’s new anti-stall system was a factor. Investigators are looking at whether a sensor failure falsely activated the system, causing the pilots to lose control of the plane.

This new information once again suggests similarities between the crash in Ethiopia and the Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October.

“There is an extreme amount of pressure for Boeing to find a fix and for the FAA to validate the Boeing finding,” said former NTSB investigator Jeff Guzzetti. “Boeing is taking a black eye — they’re already taking a black eye. And so is the FAA quite frankly.

“I think much of this is not deserved — and will be short lived. But it’s certainly creating fear and the lack of confidence in Boeing customers and those that trust the FAA,” Guzzetti said.

Boeing announced a software fix to the anti-stall system, intended to make it less aggressive and easier to control. But the 72 Max’s in the U.S. will remain grounded until the FAA approves Boeing’s updates, which could take months.

Attorney Steven Marks filed the first lawsuit against Boeing connected to the Max 8 crash in Ethiopia. He believes the company’s rush to catch up to rival Airbus in 2015 led to design mistakes that turned deadly.

“It’s hard to have a great deal of confidence when the regulatory agency allowed this product and Boeing participated and having this product going to market without a complete review,” Marks said.

Boeing employees are said to be devastated by the two crashes and the last few weeks within the company have been described as “heart wrenching.” A preliminary report on the Ethiopian Air crash is expected any day.

PRESSESPIEGEL/Unternehmen

Die wirtschaftsrelevanten Themen aus den Medien, zusammengestellt von Dow Jones Newswires.

DAIMLER – Seit zwei Jahrzehnten hadert Daimler mit seiner chronisch defizitären Kleinwagenmarke. Smart-Chefin Katrin Adt sucht in China nach einem Partner samt ertragreichem Konzept. Wird sie nicht zügig fündig, dürfte der Winzling dem Spardruck in Stuttgart zum Opfer fallen. (Handelsblatt S. 14)

DEUTSCHE BANK – Die Fusionspläne der Frankfurter Großbanken verunsichern die Mitarbeiter. Vor allem im wichtigen Investmentbanking der Deutschen Bank droht eine Abwanderungswelle, insbesondere an den Standorten in den USA und London. Auch bei der Commerzbank ist die Stimmung schlecht. (Handelsblatt S. 28/FAZ S. 11)

HECKLER & KOCH – Trotz neuer Aufträge für Sturmgewehre und Pistolen sorgt die Finanzsituation von Heckler & Koch (H&K) immer wieder für Spekulationen. Dazu tragen die hohe Verschuldung, Verlustergebnisse und die ungeklärte Eigentümersituation bei. Um Kosten zu senken, fordert die Geschäftsführung nun von der Belegschaft einen Lohnverzicht. Die Mitarbeiter sollen künftig pro Woche 2,5 bis drei Stunden unbezahlt arbeiten. Dies gab die Geschäftsführung nach Informationen aus Unternehmenskreisen auf einer Mitarbeiterversammlung am Stammsitz bekannt. (Welt S. 9)

KUKA – Zwei Gewinnwarnungen beim Roboterbauer Kuka verärgerten nicht nur den chinesischen Großaktionär Midea. “Natürlich ist die Unsicherheit groß”, sagt auch der Augsburger Betriebsratsvorsitzende und Aufsichtsrat Armin Kolb. Alle Beteiligten hätten ein Interesse daran, dass der frühere Finanzvorstand Mohnen fest zum CEO berufen werde, sagte Kolb. “Einen besseren hätte man nicht erwischen können.” Er hoffe, dass die Berufung “schnellstmöglich” erfolge. Die Interimslösung sei auch Teil der Verunsicherung der Belegschaft. Doch in Industriekreisen wird derzeit nicht damit gerechnet, dass die Vertragsfrage vor der Bilanzvorlage am Donnerstag geklärt wird. Mit dem Sparprogramm will Mohnen die Kosten um 300 Millionen Euro drücken. Dabei steht laut Industriekreisen fest: “Es wird einen Personalabbau geben.” Auch Betriebsratschef Kolb stellt sich auf Einschnitte ein. (Handelsblatt S. 20)

BOEING – Der US-Flugzeughersteller Boeing steht vor einer Vielzahl teurer Prozesse. Immer mehr Kanzleien wollen das US-Unternehmen wegen der beiden Abstürze des Modells 737 Max 8 verklagen – mit Schadensersatzforderungen in Höhe von mehreren hundert Millionen US-Dollar. “Es gibt keinen Zweifel daran, dass Boeing verantwortlich für diese Unfälle ist, die einzige Frage ist der Grad der Schuld”, sagte Steve Marks, Rechtsanwalt der Kanzlei Podhurst Orseck. Marks vertritt 20 Familien von Opfern des Absturzes der 737 Max 8 von Lion Air. Der Anwalt hat zwei Klagen von Ausländern in Nord-Illinois eingereicht, wo Boeing seinen Hauptsitz hat. In den USA haben mehrere Behörden Ermittlungen wegen der Zulassung des Flugzeugs eingeleitet. (Handelsblatt S. 17)

– Alle Angaben ohne Gewähr.

Kontakt zum Autor: unternehmen.de@dowjones.com

DJG/pi/jhe

END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 25, 2019 01:14 ET ( 05:14 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Familiares de una víctima de accidente de Ethiopian Airlines demandan a Boeing

NUEVA YORK. La familia de una de las 157 víctimas mortales del accidente de un 737 MAX 8 de Ethiopian Airlines el pasado 10 de marzo presentó una demanda en Chicago contra Boeing, la primera relacionada con este siniestro.

Esta demanda fue presentada en un tribunal de Chicago por la firma Podhurst Orsek en nombre de la familia de Jackson Musoni, un ruandés de 31 años, uno de los al menos 22 empleados de la ONU que viajaban a bordo del vuelo 302 de Ethiopian, el cual se estrelló al sudeste de Adís Abeba pocos minutos después de despegar.

La familia de Musoni acusa a Boeing de diseñar un sistema estabilizador MCAS defectuoso.

“Hubo una reconfiguración de la aeronave, lo que significa que los motores estaban adelantados (…), cambiando, sin duda, la forma del fuselaje y en definitiva alterando la aerodinámica”, dijo por teléfono Steven Marks, abogado de la familia de Musoni.

“Además, los pilotos no estaban al tanto del sistema” MCAS.

Contactado por la AFP, Boeing no quiso dar declaraciones.

“No podemos comentar sobre la demanda. Ofrecemos nuestras condolencias a las familias y el entorno de los pasajeros de Ethiopian Airlines. Boeing continúa participando en la investigación y está trabajando con las autoridades para evaluar la nueva información a medida que está disponible”, declaró un portavoz en un correo electrónico.

La flota de 737 MAX -los modelos 8 y los 9- se encuentra inmovilizada en tierra desde mediados de marzo después del accidente de Ethiopian Airlines, el segundo siniestro que involucra a este avión en menos de cinco meses.

El 29 de octubre, un 737 MAX 8 de Lion Air se estrelló en Indonesia, dejando 189 muertos.

Ya se han presentado muchas demandas relacionadas con este accidente, algunas por la misma firma que representa la familia de Jackson Musoni.

Las autoridades etíopes encontraron similitudes entre ambos accidentes.

Las conclusiones preliminares de las cajas negras del vuelo 302 de Ethiopian Airlines indicaron que el sistema MCAS se activó poco antes de estrellarse el 10 de marzo, de acuerdo con una fuente cercana al caso que habló a la AFP en condición de anonimato.

Boeing droht nach den 737-Abstürzen eine Prozesswelle

Angehörige der Absturzopfer wollen gegen den US-Konzern Boeing klagen.
(Foto: Bloomberg)

New YorkSie heißen Rumandi Ramadhan, Santi Amarti Sagala oder Harvino wie der Co-Pilot. Sie alle saßen in der Unglücksmaschine von Lion Air, die am 29. Oktober 2018 kurz nach dem Start in Indonesien ins Meer stürzte. Und ihre Angehörigen fordern nun Schadensersatz in den USA.

Auf Boeing rollt eine neue Prozesswelle zu. Immer mehr Kanzleien klagen gegen den Flugzeughersteller wegen der beiden Abstürze des Modells 737 Max, zuletzt in Äthiopien und zuvor in Indonesien. Fluggesellschaften wie die polnische Lot, deren Maschinen wegen des Flugstopps am Boden stehen, wollen ebenso klagen wie die Familien der Opfer.

Vor allem der zweite Absturz von Ethiopian Airlines und der Verdacht, dass der Flugzeugbauer die Sicherheit vielleicht doch nicht so genau genommen hat, erhöhen die Chancen, dass auch Ausländer vor US-Gerichten klagen können.

„Da wir nun zwei Abstürze mit nagelneuen Flugzeugen haben, ist das, was Boeing in den fünf Monaten dazwischen gemacht hat, relevanter denn je. Und das ist alles in den USA passiert“, erklärte Rechtsanwalt Daniel Rose von der Kanzlei Kreindler & Kreindler, die Opfer von Flugzeugabstürzen vertritt. Damit könnten auch Angehörige ausländischer Opfer in den USA klagen.

US-Unternehmen versuchen meist, die Zuständigkeit für die Prozesse in die Unfallländer zu verlagern. Schließlich können Schadensersatzklagen in den USA sehr teuer werden. Steve Marks, Rechtsanwalt der Kanzlei Podhurst Orseck, hat diese Woche zwei Klagen von Ausländern im Bundesstaat Illinois eingereicht, wo Boeing seinen Hauptsitz hat.

Zulassungspraxis im Visier

In der Klage verweist er auf die Fehler im Zulassungsprozess der 737 Max, für den die US-Luftfahrtaufsicht FAA zuständig war: „Es gibt keinen Zweifel daran, dass Boeing verantwortlich für diese Unfälle ist, und die einzige Frage ist der Grad der Schuld“, ist Marks überzeugt. Er vertritt insgesamt 20 Lion-Air-Opfer.

„2015, als Boeing hastig gegenüber Airbusaufholen wollte und den 737 zertifizieren ließ, haben FAA-Manager die Sicherheitsexperten der Behörde gedrängt, die Überprüfung an Boeing selbst zu delegieren und die daraus resultierende Analyse schnell zu genehmigen“, schreibt Marks in seiner Klageschrift im Namen der Angehörigen des Passagiers Rumandi Ramadhan.

Aber die Sicherheitsanalyse, die Boeing der FAA vorgelegt habe, habe „mehrere entscheidende Fehler“ gehabt, argumentiert der Anwalt.

Schadensersatzzahlungen nach Flugzeugunglücken sind juristisch ein heikles Thema. Normalerweise regelt die Warschauer Konvention die Zuständigkeit bei Abstürzen, erklärt Jura-Professor Steven Tapia von der Seattle University, der zuvor lange als Unternehmensanwalt tätig war. Nach diesem Abkommen können die Opfer oder deren Angehörige die Fluggesellschaften verklagen.

„Findige Anwälte haben aber auch gegen Flugzeughersteller geklagt, auch weil der Deckel für Schadensersatz unter der Warschauer Konvention recht niedrig ist“, erklärt Tapia. Der Rechtsexperte hält es zwar für gut möglich, dass ein Gericht eines Bundesstaats eine Schadensersatzklage gegen Boeing annimmt. Theoretisch könnte ein Gericht diese aber auch ablehnen und sich dabei auf die Warschauer Konvention berufen.

Sollte Boeing für schuldig befunden werden, könnten die Entschädigungen rasch Hunderte von Millionen Dollar betragen, schätzt Tapia. „Ich bin sicher, dass Boeing massive Versicherungspolicen hat, um genau diese Dinge abzudecken“, sagt er.

Stornierungen als größte Gefahr

Was die Klagen gegen Boeing vonseiten der Fluggesellschaften angeht, die wie Norwegian und Lot ihre Maschinen wegen des Flugverbots am Boden lassen müssen, hat Tapia seine Zweifel. „Ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob es da eine Grundlage gibt, dass solche staatlich angeordneten Flugverbote als eine Art höhere Gewalt gelten“, erklärt er. „Aber wenn herauskommt, dass die Flugzeuge fehlerhaft konstruiert waren, dann hätten die Fluggesellschaften der abgestürzten Maschinen sicher Grund, gegen Boeing zu klagen“, fügt er hinzu.

Wie viel Angst die Unternehmen vor Klagen haben, zeigt die Tatsache, dass Mitarbeiter der Fluggesellschaft Lion Air nach dem Absturz in Indonesien Druck auf die Angehörigen der Opfer ausgeübt haben, eine relativ niedrige Summe von umgerechnet weniger als 100.000 Dollar als Schadensersatz zu akzeptieren. Im Gegenzug verzichteten sie auf alle Rechte, gegen Lion Air, Boeing oder Zulieferer zu prozessieren. Das berichtete die „New York Times“.

Vielleicht noch mehr als die Klagen könnte Boeing jedoch die Stornierung von Aufträgen schaden. So hat die Fluggesellschaft Garuda Indonesia eine Bestellung von 49 Flugzeugen vom Typ 737 Max 8 storniert.

„Passagiere fragen immer, in welchem Flugzeugtyp sie fliegen werden, da sie das Vertrauen in den Max-8-Jet verloren haben“, sagte Garuda-Sprecher Ikhsan Rosan. Es sei schädlich für sein Unternehmen, weiterhin Maschinen dieses Typs einzusetzen.

Major airline Garuda Indonesia scraps Boeing 737 Max 8 order

Indonesia’s national airline Garuda Indonesia is moving to cancel an order for 49 Boeing 737 Max 8 jets following the deadly crashes involving two of the aircraft, a spokesman for the company confirmed.

The decision comes less than two weeks after an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed en route to Nairobi from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people onboard. A flight of Lion Air, a low-cost Indonesian airline, crashed in October shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 passengers and crew.

Both crashes involved the 737 Max 8 model and have brought intense scrutiny to US-based Boeing, which marketed the 737 Max 8 as a fuel-efficient jet of the future, as well as to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Garuda Indonesia’s cancellation is believed to be the first scrapping of an order for the plane in reaction to the crashes.

Ikhsan Rosan, a spokesman for Garuda Indonesia, told The Washington Post the decision to cancel the order was because of “consumers’ low confidence” in the airplanes following the crashes.

The multibillion-dollar order was first announced in October 2014.

Rosan said airline officials told Boeing of the decision by letter and were scheduled to meet with the airline’s representatives to discuss the matter on March 28.

Garuda Indonesia ordered 50 of the aircraft, Rosan said, and one has been delivered but was grounded after the Ethiopian Airlines crash earlier this month. Garuda Indonesia has a fleet size of 144 aircraft, according to the company’s website.

An additional 58 aircraft are operated by its low-cost carrier, Citilink.

Authorities investigating the October crash of Lion Air flight 610 say erroneous sensor data triggered an automated anti-stall feature, known as the MCAS, in the new Max planes.

The glitch kept pushing the plane’s nose down, ultimately causing it to plunge into the Java Sea, investigators found. Divers scoured the waters off the Jakarta coast for the plane’s two black boxes. The voice recorder was recovered in January.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash appeared to share similarities with the Lion Air case, including an erratic up-and-down flight path, and the pilot reporting “flight control” problems shortly before crashing, authorities said. Investigators in France and Ethiopia then said information from the Ethiopian flight data recorder showed “clear similarities” with the Lion Air flight.

All Max 8 aircraft have since been grounded, pending the investigation.

On Thursday, investigators in Jakarta confirmed that a third pilot was aboard the same Lion Air plane during a flight on October 28, a day before it crashed. During that flight, the plane experienced similar issues with the MCAS system, but that pilot reportedly disconnected the system.

The issues experienced during the October 28 flight were part of a string of problems with the plane starting October 26, including the four flights before the one that crashed, according to the preliminary report on incident.

While the Indonesian flight’s safety record was initially scrutinized in the immediate aftermath of the Lion Air crash, focus has now shifted to Boeing and the FAA. The US Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General and Justice Department are looking into the Boeing 737 Max.

Boeing is also facing a growing number of lawsuits over the crashes. Two lawsuits were filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in addition to multiple lawsuits filed last year.

The lawsuits brought Wednesday allege that the two-month-old aircraft crashed because, “among other things, Boeing defectively designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 Max 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down, and because Boeing failed to warn of the defect”.

Attorney Steve Marks, who is representing the families of 20 Lion Air crash victims, said relatives of people who died were pressured by airline employees to sign agreements shortly after the disaster. The agreements stipulated a payment of 1.3 billion rupiah ($91,600) and barred family members from suing the airline.

A spokesman for Lion Air did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreements.

Indonesia’s Garuda Airlines cancels order for 49 Boeing 737 Max jets

FILE – In this April 28, 2017, file photo, Garuda Indonesia planes are parked on the apron at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Indonesia. Indonesia’s flag carrier is seeking the cancellation of a multibillion-dollar order for 49 Boeing 737 Max 8 jets, citing a loss of confidence in the model following two crashes in the space of a few months. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)

By Timothy McLaughlin and Stanley Widianto
The Washington Post

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia’s national airline Garuda Indonesia is moving to cancel an order for 49 Boeing 737 Max 8 jets following the deadly crashes involving two of the aircraft, a spokesman for the company said Friday.

The decision comes less than two weeks after an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed en route to Nairobi from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people onboard. A flight of Lion Air, a low-cost Indonesian airline, crashed in October shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 passengers and crew.

Both crashes involved the 737 Max 8 model and have brought intense scrutiny to U.S.-based Boeing, which marketed the 737 Max 8 as a fuel-efficient jet of the future, as well as to the Federal Aviation Administration. Garuda Indonesia’s cancellation is believed to be the first scrapping of an order for the plane in reaction to the crashes.

Ikhsan Rosan, a spokesman for Garuda Indonesia, told The Washington Post the decision to cancel the order was because of “consumers’ low confidence” in the airplanes following the crashes. The multibillion-dollar order was first announced in October 2014.

Rosan said airline officials told Boeing of the decision by letter and were scheduled to meet with representatives from Boeing to discuss the matter on March 28. A Boeing spokesman said the company does not comment on discussions with customers.

“The discussion won’t be easy,” he said. Garuda Indonesia ordered 50 of the aircraft, Rosan said, and one has been delivered but was grounded after the Ethiopian Airlines crash earlier this month. Garuda Indonesia has a fleet size of 144 aircraft, according to the company’s website. An additional 58 aircraft are operated by its low-cost carrier, Citilink.

Authorities investigating the October crash of Lion Air flight 610 say erroneous sensor data triggered an automated anti-stall feature, known as the MCAS, in the new Max planes. The glitch kept pushing the plane’s nose down, ultimately causing it to plunge into the Java Sea, investigators found. Divers scoured the waters off the Jakarta coast for the plane’s two “black boxes.” The voice recorder was recovered in January.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash appeared to share similarities with the Lion Air case, including an erratic up-and-down flight path, and the pilot reporting “flight control” problems shortly before crashing, authorities said. Investigators in France and Ethiopia then said information from the Ethiopian flight data recorder showed “clear similarities” with the Lion Air flight.

All Max 8 aircraft have since been grounded, pending the investigation.

On Thursday, investigators in Jakarta confirmed that a third pilot was aboard the same Lion Air plane during a flight on Oct. 28, a day before it crashed. During that flight, the plane experienced similar issues with the MCAS system, but that pilot reportedly disconnected the system.

The issues experienced during the Oct. 28 flight were part of a string of problems with the plane starting Oct. 26, including the four flights before the one that crashed, according to the preliminary report on incident.

While the Indonesian flight’s safety record was initially scrutinized in the immediate aftermath of the Lion Air crash, focus has now shifted to Boeing and the FAA. The U.S. Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General and Justice Department are looking into the Boeing 737 Max.

Boeing is also facing a growing number of lawsuits over the crashes. Two lawsuits were filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in addition to multiple lawsuits filed last year.

The lawsuits brought Wednesday allege that the two-month-old aircraft crashed because, “among other things, Boeing defectively designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 Max 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down, and because Boeing failed to warn of the defect.”

Attorney Steve Marks, who is representing the families of 20 Lion Air crash victims, said relatives of people who died were pressured by airline employees to sign agreements shortly after the disaster. The agreements stipulated a payment of 1.3 billion rupiah ($91,600) and barred family members from suing the airline.

A spokesman for Lion Air did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreements.

– – –

McLaughlin reported from Hong Kong.

Victim’s Family Sues Boeing Over Ethiopian Airlines Crash

By Emily Field

Law360 (March 28, 2019, 7:48 PM EDT) — The children of a man who died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash hit Boeing with a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday that appears to be the first suit filed over the March 10 disaster.

In the suit filed in Illinois federal court, the family of Rwandan citizen Jackson Musoni says the flight stabilization system in the Boeing 737 MAX 8, now grounded worldwide, is defectively designed and leaves pilots unable to regain control when the automatic flight control system pushes the plane into a dive.

The family also says that technical experts with the Federal Aviation Administration were pressed by higher-ups during the aircraft’s certification process to delegate more authority to Boeing, which was under pressure to bring the jet to the market as it competed with a European rival.

Steven Marks of Podhurst Orseck PA, counsel for the family, told Law360 Thursday he believes the suit is the first to be filed over the crash that killed 157 people.

The FAA’s approval of the MAX 8 has come under intense scrutiny recently after the crash earlier this month, as well as the Lion Air Flight 610 crash in the Java Sea that killed 189 in October.

Senators at a Wednesday hearing criticized the agency’s Organization Designation Authorization program, which outsources certain parts of the certification process. One lawmaker said the FAA put the fox in charge of the hen house.

The U.S. Department of Justice has also reportedly launched a criminal probe into the development and federal approval of the Boeing 737 MAX jets, while the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General has initiated an audit of FAA’s certification of the aircraft.

“The real question in this case is how did the 737 obtain a supplemental or amended type certificate when there were substantial changes to the air frame and the engines and the aerodynamic operation of the aircraft?” Marks said.

Musoni’s family said Boeing’s safety analysis understated the power of the MAX 8’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, an automated feature that’s part of the plane’s anti-stall system. The system was added after Boeing redesigned the 737’s platform for the MAX, according to the suit.

But Boeing didn’t tell pilots about the system or that it might cause the plane to pitch down or force it into a cycle of dives, the family said. The company also didn’t tell pilots how to handle the plane when the MCAS forces repeated dives, according to the suit.

The family’s suit also cites complaints filed in a federal database by pilots voicing safety concerns about the planes, including one that said it was “unconscionable that Boeing and the FAA allowed pilots to fly the planes without adequate training or fully disclosing how the systems differed from previous 737 models.”

Boeing on Wednesday said it’s almost finished with a software update for the MCAS feature and it has met with more than 200 airline pilots, technical leaders and government regulators to review and demonstrate the update.

A Boeing spokesman told Law360 the company couldn’t comment on the suit.

“We offer our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those onboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Boeing continues to support the investigation, and is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available,” the spokesman said.

Counsel information for Boeing wasn’t immediately available on Thursday.

The family is represented by Steven Marks of Podhurst Orseck PA, and Andrew T. Hays and Sarah Buck of Hays Firm LLC.

The case is Debets v. Boeing Co., case number 1:19-cv-02170 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

–Additional reporting by Linda Chiem. Editing by Amy Rowe.

Prosecutors in 737 MAX Probe Focus on Boeing Disclosures to Regulators, Customers

Scrutiny is part of broader investigation into how the jetliner was developed and certified

Boeing 737 MAX airplanes are parked at the company’s plant in Renton, Wash., on Thursday. PHOTO: LINDSEY WASSON/REUTERS

By Andy PasztorAndrew Tangel and Aruna Viswanatha
March 22, 2019 7:33 p.m. ET

Federal investigators are looking into whether Boeing Co. BA +1.73% provided incomplete or misleading information about the 737 MAX aircraft to U.S. air-safety regulators and customers, people familiar with the matter said.

The focus on disclosures to regulators, which hasn’t been previously reported, is part of a broader investigation into how the jetliner was developed and certified, some of these people said.

The criminal investigation, which is in early stages, began last year, weeks after a 737 MAX operated by Lion Air crashed in Indonesia on Oct. 29, according to one of these people. The same model plane, flown by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed less than five months later.

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Transportation Department’s inspector general’s office are working in tandem under the direction of federal prosecutors, the people familiar with the matter said. The agents involved are from offices in Seattle, Chicago and elsewhere, these people added. Boeing is based in Chicago but manufactures the 737 MAX at its facility in Renton, Wash., near Seattle.

Boeing hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing.

“The 737 MAX was certified in accordance with the identical FAA requirements and processes that have governed certification of all previous new airplanes and derivatives,” Boeing said.

737 MX Boeing’s 737 MAX evolved to meet surging international demand for air travel and in the process became its top-selling plane. Photo: Getty

The Federal Aviation Administration said previously the 737 MAX, which entered service in 2017, was approved to carry passengers as part of the agency’s “standard certification process.” It said its safety-review procedures “are well established and have consistently produced safe aircraft.”

The agency is conducting its own inquiry into how the jet model was certified and whether various agency offices properly oversaw technical analyses prepared by Boeing and submitted to the FAA, according to a person familiar with the details. A Senate Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday is expected to kick off what is likely to be a series of congressional hearings on both sides of Capitol Hill exploring these and other matters.

The Transportation Department said earlier this week its inspector general is conducting a separate administrative audit to determine precisely what actions the FAA took in approving the safety of the jet.

Some of the investigators’ questions have related to information and safety reports Boeing provided to the FAA during the agency’s certification of the aircraft, one of the people familiar with the matter said. Other subjects the investigators have asked about include the aircraft’s design, how training was devised, disclosures in pilot manuals, and whether safety was compromised in favor of business concerns, people familiar with the matter said.

Investigators have asked FAA officials about Boeing’s disclosures related to a stall-prevention system in the MAX and what was disclosed to airlines and pilots, one of these people said. The FAA offices involved with certifying the plane and approving training requirements have been told by the inspector general’s office to retain all electronic documents and email related to the 737 MAX, The Wall Street Journal has previously reported.

The Journal also previously reported that the Justice Department’s criminal division issued a grand jury subpoena to at least one person involved in the 737 MAX’s development. The broad demand for documents sought information about the aircraft, including correspondence such as email.

A prosecutor in the department’s fraud section was listed as a contact in the March 11 subpoena. Senior prosecutors in the fraud section have notched experience in major cases in recent years involving automobile giant Volkswagen AG and air bag maker Takata Corp., both manufacturers accused of misleading regulators and consumers.

The document-retention directive applies to internal FAA communications, as well as electronic communications between Boeing and the agency, people familiar with the matter said.

Agents with the FBI and DOT inspector general’s office are looking into whether there were potential irregularities in the FAA’s safety-review process for the aircraft, some of these people said.

Write to Andy Pasztor at andy.pasztor@wsj.com, Andrew Tangel at Andrew.Tangel@wsj.com and Aruna Viswanatha at Aruna.Viswanatha@wsj.com

Appeared in the March 23, 2019, print edition as ‘Inquiry Looks at Boeing’s Actions.’

Boeing Sued by Families of Victims of 737 MAX Crashes (Billions of Dollars at Stake as a Big Order Is Canceled)

Southwest Airlines has 34 Boeing 737 MAX airplanes. American has 24 and United 14. They’re all grounded until further notice.

By Peter EconomyThe Leadership Guy@bizzwriter

CREDIT: Getty Images

After two of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft crashed — Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29, 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019 — killing all aboard, Boeing is in a particularly difficult situation. The 737 MAX is the company’s fastest-selling aircraft, with more than 5,000 sold.

The planes are now grounded.

If that wasn’t enough, families of 737 MAX crash victims are increasingly filing lawsuits against Boeing. Two new lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court on Wednesday, and many more will surely be filed in the coming weeks.

Says attorney Steve Marks, whose firm is representing families of 20 victims of the Lion Air crash, “There is no question that Boeing is responsible for these accidents, and the only question is the degree of culpability.”

In addition, airline Garuda Indonesia announced today that it sent a letter to Boeing requesting cancellation of its order for 49 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. According to an airline spokesperson, “Our passengers have lost confidence to fly with the MAX 8.” The deal is valued at approximately $4.9 billion.

It is possible that other cancellations may follow, especially if Boeing can’t quickly solve the problems that caused the two 737 MAX aircraft to crash in the first place.

And Boeing may also be sued by the airlines that are losing money due to their grounded 737 MAX airplanes. In the U.S. alone, the three airlines flying 737 MAX aircraft — Southwest, American, and United — have had to ground a total of 72 airplanes, wreaking havoc on schedules and stranding passengers.

As Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg announced on Sunday, the company is working on a fix. In a statement, Muilenburg said,

Boeing is finalizing its development of a previously-announced software update and pilot training revision that will address the MCAS flight control law’s behavior in response to erroneous sensor inputs.

There’s clearly major financial turbulence ahead for Boeing. While a fix to the 737 MAX aircraft should get the planes flying again, the company is going to be in court for years to come. Hopefully Boeing has some very deep pockets — it’s going to need them. PUBLISHED ON: MAR 22, 2019

The Final Minutes of Ethiopian Airlines’ Doomed Boeing 737 MAX

New details paint a picture of a catastrophic failure that quickly overwhelmed the flight crew

By Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Yonathan Menkir Kassa
March 29, 2019 12:18 p.m. ET

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia—It took less than six minutes to deepen one of the gravest crises in the history of Boeing Co.

At 8:37 a.m. on March 10, Captain Yared Getachew and First Officer Ahmed Nur Mohammed were accelerating an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX along runway 07R of Addis Ababa’s highland airport.

The flight conditions were perfect—warm and cloudless—at 8:38 as the jet lifted above the hills to commence the one hour and 40 minute shuttle to Nairobi.

Something almost immediately went wrong. At 8:39, as the jet reached an altitude of 8,100 feet above sea level, just 450 feet above ground, its nose began to pitch down.

Captain Yared Getachew, a veteran with 8,000 flight hours, fought to climb and correct the Boeing jet’s glide path.

First Officer Ahmednur Mohamed, seen here on his brother’s phone, radioed the control tower to report a ‘flight-control problem.’ PHOTO: MAGGIE FICK/REUTERS

Mr. Mohammed radioed the control tower, his crackling voice reporting a “flight-control problem.” The tower operators asked for details as Mr. Getachew, a veteran with 8,000 flight hours, fought to climb and correct the glide path. By 8:40, the oscillation became a wild bounce, then a dive.

“Pitch up, pitch up!” one pilot said to the other, as the Boeing jet accelerated toward the ground. The radio went dead.

At 8:44, the airliner crashed into a field just 30 miles from the runway. All 157 people on board were killed instantly.

This reconstruction of the final moments of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302, described in new detail by people close to the crash investigation, airline executives and pilots, paints a picture of a catastrophic failure that quickly overwhelmed the flight crew.

It appears to support a preliminary conclusion reached by Ethiopian officials. According to people familiar with the matter, investigators believe an automated flight-control feature activated before the plane nose-dived into the ground.

This emerging consensus, the first findings based on data retrieved from the flight’s black boxes, is the strongest indication yet that Boeing’s misfiring system was at the heart of both the Ethiopian Airlines crash earlier this month and a Lion Air flight in Indonesia, which crashed less than five months earlier. Both doomed jets were Boeing 737 MAXs. The two crashes claimed 346 lives. A report from Ethiopian authorities is expected within days.

The Justice Department and other U.S. federal agencies are investigating whether Boeing provided incomplete or misleading information to regulators and airline customers about the 737 MAX aircraft to get the jetliner certified as safe to fly. The focus on disclosures is part of a broader investigation into how the plane was developed and certified.

Relatives mourn passengers and crew members from Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 at the Selassie Church in Addis Ababa. PHOTO: MAHEDER HAILESELASSIE/REUTERS

Pilots flying the 737 MAX around the world were only alerted to the stall-prevention system after the Lion Air crash, and saw almost no mention of it in manuals, according to the pilots and industry officials. Most didn’t have visible cockpit warnings that would have alerted pilots to a malfunctioning sensor, and they had no access to simulators that could replicate the kinds of problems that doomed Lion Air flight 610.

In that crash, the stall-prevention system, based on erroneous sensor information, repeatedly pushed the plane’s nose down and, according to a preliminary report, the pilot battled the flight controls while facing a cacophony of alarms before losing control and plunging into the Java Sea, killing all 189 people on board.

Boeing said it is updating the MCAS software and making safety alerts that had been optional a standard feature. The fix has been undergoing flight trials since Feb. 7, Boeing said, before the Ethiopian airliner crashed.

Ethiopian Airlines—Africa’s largest carrier—is fighting to defend its record. Across this vast nation of 105 million people, the state-owned airline has in recent years become emblematic of, and indispensable to, Ethiopia’s ascent from one of the world’s poorest countries to a regional powerhouse. The closely-linked fates of carrier and country are now under the spotlight, raising the stakes for the airline to effectively manage the fallout of the accident.

Minutes after the plane crashed, Ethiopian Airlines chief executive officer felt a buzz in his pocket. Tewolde Gebremariam was attending Sunday service with his family at the Medhane-Alem Cathedral close to the airport when his phone rang.

Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Tewolde Gebremariam said he immediately thought of the previous Lion Air crash after his airline’s jet went down. PHOTO: MULUGETA AYENE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

It was the number for the airport’s “collaborative decision-making system,” a task force of airline, air-traffic control and airport officials who work together to ensure flight traffic is managed efficiently.

“We’ve lost ET302 from the radar,” the voice on the other end of the line said in Amharic, Ethiopia’s national language.

By the time Mr. Gebremariam reached the airport, it was becoming clear the plane had crashed.

“Right there, immediately,” Mr. Tewolde thought of the Lion Air crash, he said in an interview. “The similarities were very striking. The impact, both were brand-new airplanes, both were MAX, and [they both crashed] in a short time, quickly after takeoff.”

As two air force helicopters prepared to lift off to search for ET302, pilots on the airport runway were getting restless.

Lazarus Kuol was in line for departure, preparing to take off on his single-engine turboprop aircraft on a medevac flight to the southwestern city of Jinka. He was due to collect two Chinese patients and bring them back to Addis Ababa for treatment.

The waiting pilots, listening to the control tower’s shared frequency, heard the operators discuss an emergency and order all aircraft to remain grounded, while two incoming planes were told to delay landing. The tower had lost contact with ET302. Maybe it was a communication problem, Mr. Kuol thought, or maybe they made an emergency landing on the flat farmlands southeast of the capital.

An excavator works the crash site of the Ethiopian Airlines jet. PHOTO: XINHUA/ZUMA PRESS

The minutes passed with no word from the missing aircraft or the search-and-rescue mission, and Mr. Kuol began to fear the worst.

He was given clearance to take off at 09.50, the second aircraft to depart Bole International Airport after ET302 went missing, and began to listen to the exchange between two radio frequencies, “Addis Center,” the main control-tower, and “Harar Meda,” the air force base.

“We can’t see it in the lowland,” said one of the two air force helicopter pilots dispatched to search for ET302. “We’ll climb on the highlands to look.”

In fact, the helicopters were circling over the crash site without realizing. The dive had been so fast and so steep that the aircraft had bored a crater into the ground and fractured into thousands of pieces. It was hardly visible from air.

A relative of a crash victim throws dirt in her face in grief. PHOTO: MULUGETA AYENE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

“When I went to the site, the plane was completely below ground,” said Mr. Gebremariam, the CEO. He took off in another helicopter as soon as the crash site had been identified. “At that time, we knew there were no survivors.”

He notified the country’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, who first tweeted about the crash in Amharic at 10.48am local, just over two hours after the doomed flight had taken off.

At 10.50am, the news broke abruptly into the quiet Sunday mornings of the families of the 157 on board, and the rest of the world.

“The Office of the PM, on behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, would like to express [its] deepest condolences to the families of those that have lost their loved ones on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 on regular scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya this morning,” a tweet from his official account said.

A lone shoe lies amid the debris of the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302. Countries around the world have grounded the Boeing 737 MAX. PHOTO: JEMAL COUNTESS/GETTY IMAGES

—Robert Wall, Andy Pasztor and Andrew Tangel contributed to this article.

Write to Matina Stevis at matina.stevis@wsj.com

 

Boeing Sued Over Ethiopia Crash as Plane Orders in Asia Waver

By Peter Blumberg and Janan Hanna
March 28, 2019, 3:15 PM EDTUpdated on March 28, 2019, 9:21 PM EDT

  • Complaint filed on behalf of estate of Rwandan passenger
  • 737 Max 8 isn’t safely designed, according to lawsuit

Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg

Boeing Co. was sued on behalf of a passenger killed in this month’s 737 Max plane crash in Ethiopia and orders for the troubled aircraft wavered in Asia, deepening the planemaker’s legal and financial woes.

Chicago-based Boeing is under intense scrutiny after two crashes since October killed 346 people. As the company finalizes a software upgrade for the grounded 737 Max, it’s fighting to hang onto some customers whose confidence in the best-selling jet has been shaken. Boeing is also facing a criminal probe into how the plane was originally approved to fly.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the estate of Ethiopian Airlines passenger Jackson Musoni of Rwanda, claims the 737 Max 8 isn’t safely designed. The complaint follows earlier suits against the company over an October crash in Indonesia involving the same model. A Boeing spokeswoman declined to comment on Thursday’s complaint in a federal court in Chicago.

A memorial constructed at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.Photographer: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

“The subject accident occurred because, among other things, Boeing defectively designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 Max 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down, and because Boeing failed to warn of the defect,” according to the complaint.

Late on Thursday, flag-carrier airline Garuda Indonesia said it’s going ahead with plans to cancel a $4.8 billion order for 49 Max 8s. Still, Garuda is sticking with Boeing and has asked the manufacturer for different aircraft. In Vietnam, Bamboo Airways agreed to buy as many as 26 narrow-body jets from Airbus SE, just a month after saying it was considering ordering as many as 25 Boeing 737 Max planes.

Kenya Airways Is Talking to Airbus, But Hasn’t Discarded Boeing

Boeing is preparing to submit final paperwork to U.S. regulators for a software upgrade for an anti-stall countermeasure on the 737 Max that investigators said in a preliminary report repeatedly pushed the nose down on the Max operated by Lion Air. In that case, the jet went into a dive prior to crashing into the Java Sea in October.

Authorities are probing whether the system was a factor in the March 10 crash of the Ethiopian Airlines jet, which regulators said behaved similarly to the earlier downed plane.

Boeing faces the prospect of substantial payouts to the families of passengers if it’s found responsible for both the Indonesia and Ethiopia crashes. But legal experts say the second one could prove even more damaging for the company. That’s because plaintiffs will argue the manufacturer was put on notice by the earlier tragedy that there was something dangerously wrong with its planes that should have been fixed.

Grounded Boeing 737 Max jets belonging to Southwest Airlines in Victorville, California.Photographer: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Steven C. Marks, the lawyer who filed Thursday’s complaint, criticized the certification process for the 737 Max 8, saying it amounted to an “amendment” of a 50-year-old model rather than a more rigorous approval process for a “new aircraft.”

“Boeing and the FAA knew about the dangers and they failed to ground the fleet,” said Marks, who also is suing over the Lion Air crash. He said the similarities between the two accidents are “very clear.”

The single-aisle Max family is the Chicago-based planemaker’s largest seller and accounts for almost one-third of the company’s operating profit.

The crashes have put Boeing and the FAA under withering scrutiny, with multiple investigations being launched into the agency’s certification of the 737 Max and its reliance on FAA-designated company employees to certify the safety of many of the planes’ functions.

Dennis MuilenburgPhotographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

After the FAA grounded the 737 Max jets in the days following the Ethiopia crash, the manufacturer said it still has “full confidence” in the plane. Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said the company was doing everything it could to understand the cause of the accidents, deploy safety enhancements and ensure that no more crashes happen.

The case is Debets v. Boeing Co., 1:19-cv-02170, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).

(Updates with scrapped Boeing order by Garuda, and Bamboo’s choice of Airbus planes in the fifth paragraph.)

Boeing Ethiopia crash probe ‘finds anti-stall device activated’

Debris from Ethiopian Flight 320 – Getty Images Airlines flight 302

Officials probing the crash in Ethiopia of a Boeing 737 Max have preliminarily concluded that a flight-control feature automatically activated before it crashed, the Wall Street Journal says.

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, says the findings were relayed on Thursday at a briefing at the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The flight-control feature is meant to help prevent the plane from stalling.

Boeing said it could not comment as the investigation was still under way.

It said all inquiries should be referred to the investigating authorities. The BBC has approached the FAA for a response.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Transport said: “We have seen the WSJ report. We’ll comment shortly.”

Thursday also saw what is thought to be the first lawsuit filed on the crash.

Black box findings

The Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight-control feature was also implicated in a fatal crash by Lion Air flight in Indonesia last year.

Together, the two crashes have claimed 346 lives.

MCAS is software designed to help prevent the 737 Max 8 from stalling.

It reacts when sensors in the nose of the aircraft show the jet is climbing at too steep an angle, which can cause planes to stall.

But an investigation of the Lion Air flight last year suggested the system malfunctioned, and forced the plane’s nose down more than 20 times before it crashed into the sea, killing all 189 passengers and crew.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says there are similarities between that crash and the Ethiopian accident on 10 March.

Boeing has redesigned the software so that it will disable MCAS if it receives conflicting data from its sensors.

As part of the upgrade, Boeing will install an extra warning system on all 737 Max aircraft, which was previously an optional safety feature.

Neither of the planes, operated by Lion Air in Indonesia and Ethiopian Airlines, that were involved in the fatal crashes carried the alert systems, which are designed to warn pilots when sensors produce contradictory readings.

Earlier this week, Boeing said that the upgrades were not an admission that the system had caused the crashes.

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the accidents.

A preliminary report from Ethiopian authorities is expected within days.

Lawsuit looms

The report comes a day after a lawsuit was filed in a Chicago federal court by the family of one of the victims of the Ethiopian crash, Jackson Musoni, a citizen of Rwanda.

It alleges that Boeing had defectively designed the automated flight control system

All Boeing 737 Max are currently grounded. It is still not certain when the planes will be allowed to fly.

U.S. lawsuit filed against Boeing over Ethiopian Airlines crash

(Reuters) – A lawsuit against Boeing Co was filed in U.S. federal court on Thursday in what appeared to be the first suit over a March 10 Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash that killed 157 people.

The lawsuit was filed in Chicago federal court by the family of Jackson Musoni, a citizen of Rwanda, and alleges that Boeing, which manufactures the 737 MAX, had defectively designed the automated flight control system.

Boeing said it could not comment on the lawsuit.

“Boeing … is working with the authorities to evaluate new information as it becomes available,” it said, adding all inquiries about the ongoing accident investigation must be directed to the investigating authorities.

The 737 MAX planes were grounded worldwide following the Ethiopian Airlines disaster, which came five months after a Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people.

Boeing said on Wednesday it had reprogrammed software on its 737 MAX to prevent erroneous data from triggering an anti-stall system that is facing mounting scrutiny in the wake of two deadly nose-down crashes in the past five months.

The planemaker said the anti-stall system, which is believed to have repeatedly forced the nose lower in at least one of the accidents, in Indonesia last October, would only do so once per event after sensing a problem, giving pilots more control.

The crash of Boeing’s passenger jet in Ethiopia raised the chances that families of the victims, even non-U.S. residents, will be able to sue in U.S. courts, where payouts are much larger than in other countries, some legal experts have said.

Wednesday’s complaint was filed by Musoni’s three minor children, who are Dutch citizens residing in Belgium.

The lawsuit says Boeing failed to warn the public, airlines and pilots of the airplane’s allegedly erroneous sensors, causing the aircraft to dive automatically and uncontrollably.

Ethiopian officials and some analysts have said the Ethiopian Airlines jet behaved in a similar pattern as the 737 MAX involved in October’s Lion Air disaster. The investigation into the March crash, which is being led by the Ethiopian Transport Ministry, is still at an early stage.

Reporting by Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Tom Brown and Stephen Coates

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Family of United Nations worker killed in Ethiopian Airlines crash sues Boeing

People walk past a part of the wreckage at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethi¬o¬pia, on March 10. (Tiksa Negeri/Reuters)

By Luz Lazo

March 28 at 8:24 PM

Boeing was sued Thursday in what may be the first U.S. claim tied to the crash of one of its 737 Max 8 jets in Ethi­o­pia this month.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Chicago, where Boeing is headquartered, on behalf of Huguette Debets. Debets is a representative of the family of Jackson Musoni, a United Nations employee who was among the 157 people killed when Ethio­pian Airlines Flight 302 plummeted into a farm field shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa on March 10.

The lawsuit alleges the crash was caused by a new flight-control system incorporated in the Boeing 737 Max 8.

The 737 Max 8, Boeing’s newest plane, was involved in two crashes in less than five months before aviation safety authorities worldwide, including in the United States, grounded the aircraft. On Oct. 29, 189 people were killed when a 737 Max 8, flying under the banner of Lion Air, crashed into the Java Sea in Indonesia.

Several lawsuits also have been filed against Boeing related to the Lion Air crash.

“Boeing, having knowledge of all the reports of dangerous conditions and the previous accident that killed over 150 people, should have taken steps to protect the flying public,” said Steve Marks, an attorney with the ­Miami-based firm Podhurst Orseck, who is representing Musoni’s relatives. “This accident happened when it should have never happened.”

[FAA and Boeing defend oversight of 737 Max]

The lawsuit was filed a day after Boeing, grappling with the fallout of the two deadly crashes, sought to reassure the public of the safety of its product, and outlined upgrades to the aircraft’s software and increased training for pilots who fly the 737 Max.

The Justice Department’s criminal division is looking into the 737 Max, and the Transportation Department’s inspector general is investigating the way the certification was handled, as is Congress and a special committee set up by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Congress on Wednesday held the first of what are likely to be several hearings on the Federal Aviation Administration’s oversight and approval process of the aircraft.

The lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that the Ethio­pian Airlines plane crashed because, “among other things, Boeing defectively designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 Max 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down, and because Boeing failed to warn of the defect.”

The aircraft was “defective in design, had inadequate warnings, and was unreasonably dangerous,” the lawsuit said, adding that “Boeing negligently failed to warn the public, the airlines, the pilots, the users, and the intended third-party beneficiaries of the 7387 Max 8’s unreasonably dangerous and defective design, including that the aircraft automatically and uncontrollably dived partly because of erroneous sensors.”

It also claims that the FAA delegated authority to Boeing to approve portions of the aircraft certification process and assisted Boeing in rushing the delivery of the Max 8, resulting in “several crucial flaws” in the safety analysis report Boeing ultimately delivered to the FAA.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. The acting FAA administrator defended the government’s oversight approach at the Wednesday hearing.

[With its ties in Washington, Boeing has taken over more and more of the FAA’s job]

Debets is a representative of Musoni’s family, including three young children. Musoni, 31, a citizen of Rwanda, was a field coordinator with the United Nations Refugee Agency based in Sudan’s East Darfur, according to the agency. He had been working with the United Nations since 2014. He was one of 19 U.N. aid workers and staffers who were on board Flight 302, many of whom were traveling to Nairobi for the U.N. Environment Assembly.

Complaints have been piling up against Boeing since the Lion Air crash in October.

[‘In deep grief’: Aid workers, U.N. staff, tourists among victims in Ethiopia plane crash]

More than 30 relatives of those who died in the Lion Air crash have sued the company. In lawsuits filed last week, the families of two Lion Air passengers alleged that Boeing failed to warn pilots and airlines about a flight-control problem on the Max aircraft, and also pointed to flaws in the certification process of the jetliner, handled by the FAA. Marks, who also represents the families of 20 Lion Air victims, said his clients are also planning to sue the federal government.

More relatives of the victims in both crashes are expected to file lawsuits against the company in coming weeks. Charles Herr­mann, a Seattle-based aviation attorney, said relatives of the Ethio­pian crash victims have been contacting American attorneys for representation. Herrmann is representing families of 17 Lion Air crash victims.

Preliminary investigations have noted similarities between the two crashes.

[More families sue Boeing over Lion Air crash, citing defective design and ‘inadequate safety warnings’]

Satellite data showed the Ethiopian Airlines jet had ascended and descended multiple times after takeoff, mirroring the behavior of the Lion Air flight.

In that crash, an “angle of attack” sensor, which measures where the nose is pointing, was showing erroneous readings throughout the short time the plane was airborne. With the sensor insisting the nose was too high, the automated system called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, kicked in, sending the plane down as the cockpit crew unsuccessfully fought to regain control, according to a preliminary investigative report from November.

The possibility that the same scenario occurred in the Ethiopia crash prompted aviation authorities across the world to ground the aircraft.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg earlier this week expressed condolences for the victims in both crashes, saying the company is “humbled and learning from this experience.”

“Since the moment we learned of the recent 737 Max accidents, we’ve thought about the lives lost and the impact it has on people around the globe and throughout the aerospace community. All those involved have had to deal with unimaginable pain. We’re humbled by their resilience and inspired by their courage,” Muilenburg said.

 

More families sue Boeing over Lion Air crash, citing defective design and ‘inadequate safety warnings’

Lawsuits continue to pile up against Chicago-based Boeing from families of passengers killed in a Lion Air crash in October, alleging the manufacturer failed to warn pilots and airlines about a flight-control problem on the 737 Max 8 aircraft involved in the deadly crash off the coast of Indonesia, and another earlier this month in Ethi­o­pia.

Two lawsuits filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, also point to flaws in the certification process of the jetliner, handled by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“There is no question that Boeing is responsible for these accidents and the only question is the degree of culpability,” said Steve Marks, an attorney with the Miami-based firm Podhurst Orseck, who is representing the families of 20 Lion Air crash victims.

The lawsuits, which cite a defective design, along with inadequate safety warnings, were filed on behalf of the families of Lion Air passengers Rudi Roni Lumbantoruan and Remand Ramadhan, who died when Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta on Oct. 29. All 189 people on board were killed.

More than 30 relatives of those who died in the crash have sued Boeing in its hometown of Chicago, including the family of the plane’s co-pilot, Harvino, who filed a lawsuit in December claiming that the plane “was defective and unreasonably dangerous” for its intended use.

Harvino was 41 years old and had 5,174 hours of flying experience, according to a preliminary report on the crash issued by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee in November.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuits and the allegations they contain.

The lawsuits, which cite a defective design, along with inadequate safety warnings, were filed on behalf of the families of Lion Air passengers Rudi Roni Lumbantoruan and Remand Ramadhan, who died when Lion Air Flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta on Oct. 29. All 189 people on board were killed.

More than 30 relatives of those who died in the crash have sued Boeing in its hometown of Chicago, including the family of the plane’s co-pilot, Harvino, who filed a lawsuit in December claiming that the plane “was defective and unreasonably dangerous” for its intended use.

Harvino was 41 years old and had 5,174 hours of flying experience, according to a preliminary report on the crash issued by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee in November.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuits and the allegations they contain.

More relatives of the Lion Air crash victims are expected to file lawsuits against the company in coming weeks. Attorneys said they also have begun to set up estates for the victims of the Ethio­pian Airlines Flight 302 crash, and are preparing cases against Boeing.

Preliminary evidence from the wreckage of the March 10 Ethi­o­pia Airlines crash showed similarities to the Indonesia crash, leading aviation safety authorities around the world to ground the 737 Max 8.

The Ethio­pian Airlines plane crashed shortly after takeoff in a farm field about 40 miles from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 passengers and crew members.

The new Lion Air lawsuits come amid revelations that airline employees pressured families of the victims into signing a release form, agreeing to accept a relatively low amount of compensation and renouncing all rights to sue the airline, Boeing and a host of other companies and subcontractors, according to attorneys representing crash victims. The story was first reported by the New York Times.

Marks said he knows at least 15 relatives who signed the agreement, which in exchange gave them what the airline insurer called “humanitarian payment” in the amount of 1.3 billion rupiah, or $91,600. Marks turned down those cases, he said, because a U.S. court would probably say it would be up to Indonesian courts to determine if the agreements are enforceable. The releases would have to be rescinded before any lawsuit could proceed.

“It is a horrible situation when the airline takes advantage of these folks after they have killed their loved ones. It’s unconscionable,” Marks said.

The lawsuits allege that the two-month-old Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed because, “among other things, Boeing defectively designed a new flight control system for the Boeing 737 Max 8 that automatically and erroneously pushes the aircraft’s nose down, and because Boeing failed to warn of the defect.”

The complaints also allege that the FAA delegated authority to Boeing to approve portions of the aircraft certification process and assisted Boeing in rushing the delivery of the Max 8, resulting in “several crucial flaws” in the safety analysis report Boeing ultimately delivered to the FAA.

“As certification proceeded, FAA managers urged its technical experts to speed up the process. Development of the Max was lagging nine months behind the rival Airbus A320neo. Time was of the essence for Boeing. So, throughout the certification process, FAA technical experts were pressured by their superiors to delegate more and more authority to Boeing,” the lawsuit says.

Marks said his clients intend to sue the federal government, and to file more lawsuits against Boeing in coming days. The victims’ families, he said, want to find out why and how the tragedy happened, make sure that it does not occur again, and hold the responsible parties accountable.

“Obviously, Boeing went through a process which was rather atypical of the normal certification process and it is becoming more apparent that the FAA either knowingly or unwittingly was an accomplice to Boeing violating the normal procedures,” he said.

The preliminary investigation attributed the Lion Air crash at least partly to a faulty sensor causing an automated system to push the nose of the plane down while the pilots wrestled to pull the aircraft up. The result was an erratic flight path in which the plane descended and ascended repeatedly before plunging into the Java Sea.

The possibility that the same scenario occurred in the Ethiopia Airlines crash prompted most countries to ground the plane, including the United States last week.

According to the preliminary report, the Lion Air 737 Max 8 had multiple failures starting Oct. 26, including the four flights before the one that crashed Oct. 29.

The plane’s maintenance log showed pilots reported problems such as incorrect displays of speeds and altitude, that airline mechanics worked to resolve the problems and at one point replaced the angle-of-attack sensor, which detects whether the wings have enough lift to keep flying, according to the report.

A day before the plane went down, the crew of a flight from Bali to Jakarta got a stall warning at around 400 feet and fought to control a malfunction with the aircraft’s trim system, which was driving the nose down. According to news reports, a third pilot in the cockpit helped the crew disable the faulty flight-control system.

The next day, the crew of the doomed flight took off after tests on the ground “found that the problem had been solved,” the report said.

Read More

Lion Air crash: Divers find cockpit voice recorder

By Masrur Jamaluddin and Helen Regan, CNN

Updated 12:48 PM ET, Mon January 14, 2019 

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN)Indonesian Navy divers have recovered the cockpit voice recorder from Lion Air Flight 610, a discovery that could help solve the mystery of why the brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 plunged into the Java Sea last October, killing all 189 people on board.

Divers and crew cheered when the device was lifted onto the deck of a ship Monday morning local time.

The cockpit voice recorder (CVR), which is one of two so-called “black boxes,” was buried under eight meters (26 feet) of mud on the seabed and was found inside the current search area of 500 to 1,000 meters (546 to 1,093 yards) from the crash site, Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Agung Nugroho told CNN.

The retrieval of the device, more than two months after the crash, is a significant breakthrough for investigators trying to piece together the final moments of Flight 610. The focus will now be on pulling data that investigators hope will contain audio of the pilots’ conversations.

The apparatus must be dried for four days and cleaned for another day before the audio can be downloaded, Captain Nurcahyo Utomo from Indonesia’s transport authority KNKT said at a press conference on Monday.

“That is the longest estimation process for downloading the CVR if all of the important components are in good shape,” he said.

The content of the CVR is crucial to piecing together the final moments of the doomed flight.

But if technicians find the integrity of the device, which spent 77 days underwater, has been compromised, then it would need to be sent to the United States for assessment by manufacturer L3 Communications.

Nurcahyo added that investigators were not just interested in the conversation between the pilot and copilot.

“We also want to investigate other sounds in the cockpit — that will help us find out what happened and help us investigate what caused the crash,” he said.

Pilots fought to override automated system

The KNKT expects to publish a full report into the crash within 12 months.

Aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas said the CVR is an “exceedingly important discovery” and there is no reason authorities should not release the audio or transcripts to the public.

“The Indonesians are very conscious that the whole world is looking at them. I’m sure that the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) of the US will put enormous pressure to release it,” said Thomas, who is editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings.

The diving team also recovered some human remains, including bone fragments and other body parts, officials told CNN.

The plane’s flight data recorder was pulled from the seabed on November 1 but the CVR was detached from it.

Flight 610 was carrying 181 passengers, six cabin crew members and two pilots from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang on the island of Bangka.

A preliminary report from data retrieved from the flight recorder showed pilots repeatedly foughtto override the plane’s automatic safety system, which pulled the plane’s nose down more than two dozen times before the crash — but the CVR is needed to shed light on what pilots were saying and why the safety feature was not turned off.

According to the report, the pilots first manually corrected an “automatic aircraft nose down” two minutes after takeoff and performed the same procedure repeatedly before the plane hurtled nose-first into the Java Sea.

A different flight crew had experienced the same issue on a flight from Denpasar to Jakarta the previous day, but had turned off the automatic safety feature and taken manual control of the plane.

Questions about the aircraft’s design

The system is new to Boeing’s MAX 8 planes and automatically activates to lower the nose to prevent the plane from stalling, based on information sent from its external sensors. Indonesian investigators have already pointed to issues with the plane’s angle-of-attack (AoA) sensors, which had proved faulty on earlier flights.

AoA sensors send information to the plane’s computers about the angle of the plane’s nose relative to the oncoming air to help determine whether the plane is about to stall.

Analysts said finding the CVR was imperative if investigators are to determine whether the crash has implications for other airlines collectively operating thousands of Boeing 737 flights around the world each day.

A lawsuit against Boeing related to the crash was filed in late November. The family of Harvino, the pilot in charge of the Lion Air plane is suing the company, claiming that the MAX 8 had an unsafe design. The suit alleges Boeing failed to communicate information about a new safety feature that hadn’t existed in previous 737s.

Speaking to CNN on Monday, Harvino’s sister said she was happy the CVR had been found. “I’m really happy because we can know more about the causes of the incident,” Vini Wulandari, 36, said.

Harvino left three children, a girl aged eight and two boys aged six and 18 months. “Life has changed a lot since the crash,” Wulandari said. “He had three little children. They will grow up without a father and it makes us very, very sad.”

Lion Air’s operational director has also accused Boeing of withholding information from pilots in the manuals about the feature that automatically lowers the airplane’s nose to prevent or exit a stall.

However, Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg told Fox Business Network in November that information was available as part of the training manual.

“We are confident in the safety of the 737 MAX. Safety remains our top priority and is a core value for everyone at Boeing,” a spokesperson said at the time.

CNN’s Ivan Watson, Euan McKirdy and Lauren Said-Moorhouse contributed to this report.

How Pilot Error May Have Contributed to the Lion Air Flight 610 Crash

The investigation into the Lion Air Flight 610 disaster continues.  Findings in a preliminary report released by Indonesian crash investigators — in conjunction with the timeline of events as currently understood — might reveal more about the “cause” of the accident.

Boeing released a new automated anti-stall system known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, in their 737 Max 8 aircraft variant — many industry observers and safety experts believe that Boeing did not give pilots adequate information regarding the system and the procedures necessary to override the MCAS in emergency situations.

Understanding the MCAS System and Defective AOA Sensors

The MCAS is an anti-stall system that takes in information from angle-of-attack (AOA) sensors located on the fuselage of the 737 Max 8 aircraft.  The AOA sensors feed the MCAS information regarding airspeed and nose angle.  Given this information, the MCAS detects whether the aircraft is at-risk of stalling, and automatically forces the nose down.

In the Lion Air Flight 610 disaster, purportedly, a defective AOA sensor (or sensors), fed the MCAS incorrect information regarding its airspeed and nose angle causing the MCAS the aircraft to go into a nosedive to counteract a non-existent stall.

Two Sets of Pilots, Same Aircraft, Two Different Outcomes

As the aircraft was being forced downward by MCAS, the pilots operating Lion Air Flight 610 on its final, fatal voyage — Captain Bhavye Suneja and his co-pilot, Harvino — attempted to raise the nose and level off the aircraft by hitting a switch on their control column.  This procedure merely “suspended” operation of the MCAS nosedive.  This push-and-pull between the two pilots and the MCAS lasted over 11 minutes before the aircraft finally plunged into the sea.

Interestingly, the pilots operating the same aircraft on a prior flight encountered similar problems with the AOA sensor followed by a sudden nosedive caused by the MCAS.  In response, however, the captain on that flight evaluated the flight data during the incident and determined that the co-pilot’s readings (on the cockpit instruments), matched a standby system and ultimately determined the standby readings were accurate.  Realizing that there was something interfering with the altitude of the aircraft, the captain on then shut off the aircraft’s trim system, which involves a motor that allows the nose to adjust vertically.  This allowed the prior flight to reach its destination safely.

Currently, it is not known whether Captain Suneja and his co-pilot, Harvino, understood that they could shut off the trim system.  Investigators hope that a recovered cockpit recorder will give a clearer understanding of their procedures after the MCAS kicked in.

Indications of Lax Maintenance and Training

Though these reports make the prior flight crew of Lion Air Flight 610 aircraft appear to be more competent in comparison, further investigations must be conducted to determine if the accident was caused by a mechanical failure, pilot error, lack of training, lack of follow-up on reports of trouble during flights and or failure to follow safety protocols with regard to airworthiness in light of the reported problems by the prior flight crew.

Experienced Aviation Lawyers

Steven C. Marks and the attorneys at Podhurst Orseck have served as lead counsel, appointed court counsel and/or counsel representing victims and families in a number of commercial major airline crashes over the past 30 years. Steve’s experience includes serving as co-lead trial counsel representing the victims of the Silk Air Flight MI185, which crashed into the Musi River in Palember, Indonesia during its flight from Jakarta to Singapore in December 1997.

The Podhurst Orseck attorneys are actively monitoring the investigations as to what caused Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Flight 302 to crash and are representing families of the passengers. Please see below the latest news about the investigations and check back frequently for updates.

 

Washington Post Ethiopian Airlines Interview

CBS News Ethiopian Airlines Interview

Reports Indicate Possible Non-MCAS Nose Trimming Issue on Boeing 737 Max 8 Aircraft

Though much of the concern with the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft has centered around its MCAS implementation and how that system interacts with erroneous data handled by multiple angle-of-attack sensors located on the aircraft, there is reason to believe that the 737 Max 8 may have a non-MCAS downward pitching issue.  Last year, two US pilot reports were filed to bring attention to a concerning in-flight issue.

Two US Pilots Report Pitching Downwards

According to the two US pilot reports filed last year, the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft pitched its nose aggressively downward soon after autopilot was engaged.  The downward pitching described in these pilot reports does not seem to be related to the anti-stall mechanism implemented by MCAS, as that system (MCAS) is not intended to activate unless autopilot is off.

There are a number of different possibilities for the behavior in these reports: 1) the faulty MCAS is activating, in some cases, when autopilot is on (which it should not be doing); 2) the autopilot system itself includes some hidden anti-stall mechanism that is pitching the nose downward; or 3) there is some other sensor/autopilot issue that was forcing the nose steadily downward.

This problem has certainly given the pilots pause with regard to the 737 Max 8.  According to a pilot interviewed by the Associated Press, “I am left to wonder what else I don’t know.  The Flight Manual is inadequate and almost criminally insufficient.”

It is not clear whether this issue may have arisen in Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 or whether the crash might have been caused by an MCAS issue (as in Ethiopian Flight 302).  Investigators must first determine the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines disaster, at which point we will be able to more effectively evaluate how liability must be apportioned.

Contact Our Experienced Aviation Lawyers for Guidance

If you have lost a loved one in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 disaster (or in a similar aviation incident), then you may have a right of action against the airline, Boeing, and various other defendants for damages.  Litigating aviation accident claims can be challenging, however, and successfully navigating the landscape of such a dispute will require the assistance of a skilled team of attorneys who have extensive experience in the field.

At Podhurst Orseck, we have represented crash victims and their families since our founding in 1968 and have been involved in litigating claims for over 100 airline crashes, many of which have become landmark cases that have had an impact on the aviation industry at-large.

Steve C. Marks and the attorneys at Podhurst Orseck have served as lead counsel, appointed court counsel, and/or counsel representing victims and families in a number of commercial major airline crashes.  This experience includes serving as counsel in disaster litigation that includes, but is not limited to, the following: Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, SilkAir Flight MI185, Metrojet Flight 9268, and others.

Contact us for immediate guidance on how to proceed.

How the Boeing 737 Max 8 Anti-Stall System Can Lead to a Crash

In the wake of the March 10, 2019 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, many aviation industry observers have postulated the existence of a link between the present incident and the Ethiopian Flight 302 disaster (that occurred back in October), as both incidents involved a Boeing 737 Max 8 and seem to have unfolded rather similarly after takeoff.  In both cases, the aircraft collided with the ground a short time after takeoff following a period of aggressive descent (with rapid fluctuations in pitch, presumably as the pilots fought to balance the nose of the aircraft and prevent a ground collision).

Though it’s not entirely clear what caused the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, it’s possible that the new Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), implemented on the Boeing 737 Max 8, contributed to the accident.

Understanding the MCAS-AOA Interaction

The MCAS is an anti-stall system that was added to the Boeing 737 Max 8 (and Max 9).  The system processes airspeed data and data from the angle-of-attack (AOA) sensors on the plane to determine whether the plane is flying at too severe an angle (and is therefore at-risk of stalling).  When the MCAS interacts with AOA data that indicates a risk of stalling, it automatically pitches the nose down.

Now, the MCAS system is not, in and of itself, a problem, except when it interacts with AOA sensors that are providing erroneous data. If an AOA sensor is faulty, then it could cause the MCAS to activate when the plane is not actually stalling, thus pushing the aircraft into an aggressive dive.

Despite having implemented such an advanced and powerful new system, Boeing did not provide training or any notice in the training manuals (for the 737 Max 8) regarding the MCAS and procedures for shutting it off.  As such, pilots — who rely on memorized procedures, particularly in dangerous situations — were not equipped to correct the problem when it cropped up during the flight.

Though Boeing supposedly updated the training manual and notified airlines as to the MCAS implementation following the Ethiopian Flight 302 disaster in October 2018, it appears that their efforts may have been incomplete or otherwise inadequate, as the US Federal Aviation Administration is requesting that Boeing update the training manuals and provide a software update to enhance the MCAS-AOA interaction.

Evidence Linking Two Major Crashes and Changes Planned by Boeing

On March 13, 2019, the US joined more than 45 other countries in grounding the Boeing 737 Max 8 (and Max 9) until the aircraft could be deemed airworthy again, on the basis of new evidence that was collected from the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash site, that could provide a link between Ethiopian Flight 302 — which crashed due to activation of the MCAS and erroneous sensor data — and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), who made the grounding decision, did not go into further detail about the nature of this newly-available evidence and what it might indicate with regard to the cause of the Ethiopian Airlines disaster. They did, however, note that their decision was driven by this new evidence, in conjunction with refined satellite data that became available to them the same morning.

The FAA also ordered that Boeing implement changes by April if the aircraft were to be considered airworthy again. The changes include an update to training requirements and flight crew manuals specifically relating to the new MCAS.  Boeing is also being required to update the MCAS and angle-of-attack sensors so that their activation is more finely-tuned and enhanced.

Contact Our Experienced Aviation Lawyers for Assistance

At Podhurst Orseck, we have extensive experience handling aviation disaster claims on behalf of victims and their surviving family members. Steven C. Marks and our other attorneys have served as lead trial counsel, co-lead counsel, and more in a variety of high-profile commercial airline crash litigation, including, but not limited to, the following: Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, SilkAir Flight MI185, Metrojet Flight 9268, and more.

When litigating a claim against an airline, there are specific procedures, expectations, and strategies that must be taken into account. The depth of our litigation experience has given us key insight into what is necessary in order to successfully navigate the complexities of such a dispute.

Contact us for immediate guidance on how to proceed.

Boeing Grounds Global 737 Max Fleet

On Thursday, March 14, 2019, Boeing issued a global order to ground all 737 Max series aircraft — including the 737 Max 8 — following new evidence uncovered by aviation investigators at the Addis Ababa crash site (in conjunction with refined satellite data) that suggests similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash and the Ethiopian Flight 302 crash that occurred less than six months ago.

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Satellite Data of Flight 302 Suggests Problem Maintaining Altitude

As the black box arrives in Paris for further flight data analysis just three days after it was found at the Addis Ababa crash site, investigators have studied refined satellite data of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and determined that it is suggestive of a similar flight path, speed-loss, and altitude-loss pattern as that of Ethiopian Flight 302, which crashed off the coast of Indonesia late last year.

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Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Black Box Arrives in Paris for Further Analysis

On Thursday, March 14, 2019, three days after it was discovered at the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash site, the black box arrived in Paris, where French aviation authorities are intending to evaluate the content of the black box for information that might clarify the various factors that contributed to the accident.  Initially, the black box was intended to go to Germany, but aviation authorities there determined that they did not have the necessary software to evaluate its content.

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Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Left a Trail of Smoke and Debris Before the Crash

As Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 approached the ground, eyewitnesses reportedly heard rattling noises and saw a trail of smoke and debris coming from the rear of the plane.  Given that the plan was seemingly “on fire” prior to the collision, there are natural questions as to what else may have occurred — aside from a forced descent — to contribute to the accident.

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Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Captain Was Young, But Experienced

As investigators evaluate the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 disaster, questions inevitably arise as to possible pilot error.  Captain Yared Getachew, the pilot of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, was the youngest captain in the history of Ethiopian Airlines’ operation; however, he had logged over 8,000 hours of flight time and had over 10 years of flight experience.

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Pilot Reported Flight Control Problems

Minutes after takeoff, Captain Yared Getachew, pilot of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, reported to air traffic controllers at Addis Ababa airport (where the plane departed from) that he was experiencing flight control problems, and he requested to return to the origin airport.  The pilot’s report did not indicate any external issue, such as a bird strike, that may have contributed to the loss of control, thus supporting the popular theory that the aircraft’s MCAS implementation may have led to the crash.

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