A French woman has sued Boeing for the death of her husband in the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crash, bringing the total number of publicized litigations to over 10. Nadege Dubois-Seex is seeking $276 million in compensation, according to her representative, US attorney, Norman Husain. Nadege is the wife of Tamarind Group executive, Jonathan Seex.

On March 10, 2019, a passenger flight from Addis Ababa International Airport in Ethiopia to Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, crashed near Bishoftu, six minutes after take-off, killing all 157 people aboard. The crash is the second in the last seven months involving a brand new Boeing 737 MAX 8, a new model of Boeing’s 737 MAX series that also crashed in Indonesia last October.

Since then, Boeing has grounded planes, including its 737 MAX. It has also accrued losses and numerous lawsuits from airlines and the families of victims.

Here’s a list of some lawsuits preceding Nadege’s case:

Kondaveeti v Boeing –Andrew & Stile, on behalf of Paul Kishore Kondaveeti & Manisha Nukavarapu. Manisha was an Indian citizen, legally resident in Tennessee at the time of the crash. She was a medical student resident at East Tennessee State University. The suit, filed by Kondaveeti on behalf of Manisah’s estate, alleges product liability, negligence, breach of a warrant and civil conspiracy. The plaintiff also intends to sue the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration under the Federal Tort Claims Act for alleged negligence in improperly certifying the plane. The lawsuit also seeks punitive damages.

Samya Stumo v Boeing Clifford Law, on behalf of Samya Stumo’s family.

Samya Stumo was 24. She worked for DC-based health systems development organization ThinkWell. The suit names as defendants; Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines, as well as Rosemount Aerospace Inc., the maker of the airplane’s flight control system. Stumo’s dad, Micheal Stumo, said his daughter was sent to Africa by her company to open a new office in Uganda.   

Nowegian Air v Boeingfor potential losses incurred in the grounding of its 737 MAX 8 jets.

Norwegian Air had eighteen 737s in its fleet, mostly for Transatlantic flights between Europe and the East Coast of the United States. It had also ordered more than 100 jets. Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos, said, in a recorded message to customers. “We will send this bill to those who produce this aircraft.” Boeing settled affected airlines for an undisclosed amount following a 2013 grounding of its 787 Dreamliner jets.

Jackson Musoni v Boeing – filed by his three surviving children.

This was the first suit on record. Jackson Musoni was a Rwandan citizen. The suit was filed by Musoni’s three children, who are Dutch citizens residing in Belgium. The suit alleges that Boeing had defectively designed the automated flight control system. It also blames Boeing for failing to warn the public, airlines and pilots of the airplane’s allegedly erroneous sensors.

Hagen Berman v Boeingclass action suit.

Filed by Hagen Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP on behalf of investors in the Boeing Company. It alleges that Boeing concealed critical facts concerning the 737 MAX airplanes from investors. It also alleges that Boeing designed and sold as extras or optional, safety features designed to prevent accidents such as the Ethiopia Air crash. Boeing, according to the suit, also hid the fact that most airlines did not purchase the safety features. Boeing undermined passenger safety, continued the suit, as it rushed to send the MAX jets to the market, in order to compete with Airbus.

Mucaad Hussein Abdalla v Boeingjointly filed by Norman Husein on behalf of the Abdalla family.

Mucaad Hussein Abdalla was a Minnesota resident. The suit alleges that Boeing knew or had reason to suspect a malfunction of a new automated anti-stall system, known as MCAS. Nomaan Husain, one of two Houston lawyers representing Abdalla’s family, said the goal of the lawsuit is to obtain answers for his clients and hold those accountable for the crash.

George Kabau v Boeingfiled by Norman Husein.

Kenyan George Kabau was a 29-year old engineer. His siblings say they want to force the company to release documents and emails relating to its 737 MAX 8 model.

Seeks v Boeingfiled by shareholders.

Richard Seeks is the lead plaintiff. Seeks said he bought 300 Boeing shares in early March and sold them at a loss within the last two weeks. The lawsuit seeks damages for Boeing stock investors from Jan. 8 to March 21.

Dixit Vaidya v Boeing filed by members of one Canadian family that lost six members.

Kosha Vaidya was travelling with her husband, Prerit Dixit, two daughters, Ashak and Anushka, her dad, Pannagesh Vaidya, and her mother, Hansini Vaidya.  Kosha was visiting her birthplace in Kenya. The suit was one of ten that hit Boeing on April 29, 2019.

Since Boeing is based in Chicago, most of the lawsuits are filed there, Curtis Milner, partner at Miami law firm Colson, Hick Eidson, told insurance journal. Also, according to Justin Green, a New York-based aviation lawyer who has represented similar cases against Boeing, lawsuits in the US for crash victims go up to $2 million or $3 million per person, depending on the law applied, compared to $200,000 in Ethiopia. Which explains the setting of all the suits.

For all 157 victims, compensation could run into $25 million, Reuters calculated, based on the Montreal convention. The Montreal convention provides for a maximum of 113,100 special drawing rights, currently worth $139, for death or injury of each passenger.

Depending on how investigations pan out, there is likely to be a major shake-up in upper management. And just maybe, a few executives jailed. Boeing faced thirty-one charges following the October crash of Lion Air.  

By Caleb Ajinomoh

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