MH370 crash: Boeing and MAS could face RM4.95bil lawsuit in United States

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: Family members of the victims of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are filing an RM4.95bil suit against Boeing and Malaysia Airlines in the United States.

Chicago-based firm Ribbeck Law Chartered, who are acting for the family members, have started proceedings by filing a petition of discovery in an Illinois court.

Monica Kelly, the lead lawyer from Ribbeck Law, said the firm, which specialises in aviation law, were approached by family members from China and Indonesia.

Of the 239 people onboard MH370, 154 were China nationals, 49 Malaysians, and seven Indonesians.

Kelly said they had spoken to family members in many countries and expected about half of them to take part in the suit.

She said the fact that neither the wreckage of MH370 nor the bodies of the passengers had been found would not affect the case, as they would be inspecting the rest of the MAS fleet for similar design flaws.

"We've had successful cases where the plane, the victims or even the black box were not found," said Kelly, during a briefing with the press here.

Manuel Von Ribbeck, of Ribbeck Law, said they were 100% confident of winning the suit.

He explained that was because in the eyes of the law, passengers are never at fault, and it was merely a matter of ensuring the family were compensated fully.

Ribbeck said the coverage for compensation was about US$1.5bil (RM4.95bil), and the firm would demand the full amount be paid.

For the purpose of the suit, the firm is assuming the passengers are all deceased, based on the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's announcement.

"We hope that miracles can happen. But based on the data we've seen so far, it does not look good for the flight and her passengers," said Ribbeck.

Boeing, the manufacturers of the 777-200 aircraft, has been on the receiving end of a number of lawsuits in the past.

The most recent lawsuit was in January this year by a group of passengers, represented by Ribbeck Law, who were aboard an Asiana Airlines flight that crash-landed in San Francisco on July 6 last year, where three people were killed and more than 180 others hurt.

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