The lawyers claim that Boeing conspired with the Federal Aviation Administration in making the sales. They have accused the Aviation Authority of conspiracy with the aircraft manufacturers in releasing the substandard aircraft to the market.
Could there be any truth in this?
According to Daily Nation, they accused Boeing in a pre-trial conference that kicked off in Seattle. Lawyers of victims who died in the last Ethiopian Airline crash allege a civil conspiracy in the suit filed at the Northern District Federal Court in Illinois. They claim that Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration colluded to authorize an unsafe aircraft released to the market.
The American aircraft manufacturer has been sued in the US by Kenyan families affected by the 737 Max plane crash in which all on board died.
US-based Friedman Rubin and Shakespear law firm in a consortium of lawyers that includes Kenyan-based Irungu Kang’ata and Gachie Mwanza have sued Boeing. Lawyers sued the aircraft manufacturer for the deadly crash in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia five months ago.
The crash happened on March 10 and killed all 157 people on board, including 32 Kenyans.
“This is a case of the fox guarding the henhouse. Over the years, the FAA has given the authority to sign off the planes as airworthy to the manufacturer who does not have the capacity or the technical expertise to do so. This must change,” said Ms Alisa Brodkowitz.
The Ethiopian Airlines was the second 737 Max plane to crash after a Lion Air carrier crashed off the Indonesian Coast in October last year.
Though the lawyers have not disclosed how much they will be demanding as compensation for each of the affected families, they hinted at going for a ‘substantial amount’ in punitive damages.
“For a company that makes 10 trillion shillings in profits if you have to punish them then they must feel it so that they can change, ” said Shakespear Feyissa.
Murang’a County senator, Mr Kang’ata have promised to hold talks with the Foreign Affairs ministries to iron out issues that may deter affected families from pursuing justice.
Ms Wanjiku Wairia, a relative of one of the victims of the crash, has however faulted the government of Kenya for reneging on some of the promises it gave to the bereaved families.
“The government had communicated to us that it would hire counsellors for the affected families immediately after the accident, but unfortunately that is yet to happen,” she said.