The United Sates Justice Department (“DOJ”) announced that it has reached an agreement with Boeing to resolve a criminal charge related to a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”).
In the settlement agreement, Boeing has agreed to pay $2.5 Billion, $500 million of which will go to the victims’ families translating, if it is evenly distributed among the 346 victims, into $1.4 million per victim. Mr. Manuel von Ribbeck of Ribbeck Law Chartered who has represented at least 88 families, stated that: “According to the settlement agreement with the DOJ, Boeing will establish a $500 million fund to compensate the families of the 346 victims who died in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines ET302 in Ethiopia and the Lion Air JT610 in Indonesia.”
Mr. von Ribbeck added that “we have facilitated all the families we represented from both Boeing MAX 8 crashes to get their money from two other funds previously established by Boeing pro bono, and we will represent again the majority of the families of passengers and crew members from the Max 8 crashes to collect the settlement proceeds as soon as this fund is established.”
Mr. von Ribbeck further stated that “the funds coming from the settlement agreement with the DOJ have nothing to do with any settlement reached or to be reached with the civil case against Boeing in Chicago.”
On Oct. 29, 2018, Lion Air Flight 610, a Boeing 737 MAX, crashed shortly after takeoff in Indonesia. All 189 passengers and crew on board died. Following the Lion Air crash, the FAA learned that the plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, commonly referred to as MCAS, activated during the flight and may have played a role in the crash. The FAA also learned for the first time about the change to MCAS, including the information about MCAS that Boeing concealed from the FAA.
Just five months later, an Ethiopian Airlines jet headed for Nairobi, Kenya crashed after its MCAS failed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, killing all 149 on board including 9 Ethiopians.
Mr. von Ribbeck further stated that: “We have already contacted the US Department of Justice in order to start the process of getting these funds on behalf of our clients.”
Ribbeck Law Chartered represents the majority of the families of the victims of the two 737 Boeing MAX 8 crashes in civil lawsuits against Boeing pending in the US Federal Court in Chicago. The firm has already successfully concluded the litigation for most of the Lion Air 610 cases and was the first law firm in the world to obtain a settlement for the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 plane crash.