Boeing has settled its civil cases with all but two of the families of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Boeing 737 MAX crash on March 10, 2019. The ET302 crash, along with the Lion Air Flight 610 crash, just over four months prior, claimed the lives of 357 people.
FlyersRights.org, however, continues its litigation, supported by independent safety experts, to compel the FAA to release the Boeing 737 MAX fix details and flight testing. The FAA, at Boeing’s behest, has kept secret all data related to the MAX under a claim of trade secrets, notwithstanding Boeing’s and the FAA’s multiple promises of full transparency.
Boeing has admitted liability for compensatory damages caused by the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, and the victims’ families may pursue compensatory damages in Illinois. However, the agreement bars punitive damages, damages that would have punished Boeing for egregious conduct and would deter Boeing and others from such behavior in the future.
“This settlement means that the FlyersRights.org litigation against Boeing will be one of the few ways to achieve truth and accountability for the Boeing 737 MAX crashes,” noted Paul Hudson, President of FlyersRights.org. “By avoiding discovery and depositions in these civil cases in addition to having avoided criminal trials and significant fines in its agreements with the federal government, Boeing so far has escaped with merely a slap on the wrist relative to the size of the company and the magnitude of its wrongdoing.”
Notably, Boeing hopes to be able to avoid depositions of CEO David Calhoun, former CEO Dennis Muilenburg, and other employees. Boeing agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice in January 2021, paying $244 million in fines but admitting no guilt.