The first official report into Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, which crashed on 10 March, linked the flight to the Lion Air plane crash in Indonesia in October 2018. Sarah Stewart spoke to The Times about the safety processes, what rights the families of victims have and what is next for Boeing.

Sarah Stewart, partner, commented in The Times:

“Assertions have been made that in its haste to get the 737 Max to market, several design changes were made for which the FAA gave the manufacturer authority to self-certify its safety. This raises further questions about the regulator.”

She also made a point about the added complexity of how claims by the victims’ families are handled due to the accidents happening in Asia and Africa: “From experience, Boeing and their aviation insurers will try to persuade the Chicago court that it is ‘inconvenient’ for them to be sued in their home court, and that instead the families’ claims should be sent back to Africa, where potential compensation is much lower,” she said.

The article reported that after the Lion Air accident, Stewarts and Wisner Law in the US filed a lawsuit in Chicago against Boeing. “We are now assisting families from the Ethiopian Airlines accident, which bears alarming similarities to that of Lion Air,” said Sarah.

Sarah also commented on whether families may have additional rights of action, as well as against Boeing.

“Some families may also attempt to sue the US government for decisions made by the Federal Aviation Administration, but it is unlikely that such claims would succeed,” she said. “Regardless of decisions made by the FAA, responsibility for the safety of the aircraft lies with the manufacturer.”

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The full Times article can be viewed here (subscription required)



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