U.S. Judge OKs Boeing Settlement for Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX Crash Claims

U.S. Judge OKs Boeing Settlement for Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX Crash Claims Photo Source: Jonathan Druion/BBC

A US judge has approved a settlement Boeing introduced to the families of the 157 victims killed in the 2019 Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max crash.

As part of the settlement, Boeing agrees to liability for compensatory damages brought forward in lawsuits filed by the victims’ families. After introducing the settlement, Boeing shared last week that it was "committed to ensuring that all families who lost loved ones in the accidents are fully and fairly compensated for their loss."

According to lawyers representing the victims, Boeing also admitted that "the 737 MAX had an unsafe condition, and that it will not attempt to blame anyone else."

As part of the settlement, the families of victims will be allowed to move forward with lawsuits against the company in Illinois, where Boeing is based. The families will be allowed to have their cases heard using the U.S. courts system; however, lawyers for the families share that they will not seek punitive damages.

The Ethiopian Airline crash was the second crash involving a 737 MAX. Just six months earlier, Indonesian flight Lion Air Flight 610 crashed just 13 minutes into its departure, killing all 189 passengers and crew members.

Following the Ethiopian airline crash, the 737 MAX was pulled from operation and the planes were grounded for nearly two years. An investigation revealed an issue with the plane's new flight control system, MCAS. The system had a fault that caused the planes to go into a nosedive that pilots could not gain control over.

As part of the investigation into the crashes, Boeing agreed to a $2.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department to resolve criminal charges associated with the crash.

“This is a significant milestone for the families in their pursuit of justice against Boeing, as it will ensure they are all treated equitably and eligible to recover full damages under Illinois law while creating a pathway for them to proceed to a final resolution, whether through settlements or trial,” said Robert Clifford, Steven Marks, and Justin Green, the lead attorneys who are representing the victims and their families.

In addition to accepting responsibility, Boeing shared in a statement, "We extend our deepest condolences to the families of those lost on Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Since the accidents, Boeing has made significant changes as a company, and to the design of the 737 MAX, to ensure that accidents like those never happen again."

Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti is a postgraduate at James Madison University where she studied English and Education. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and two little girls. Although she considers herself a workaholic, when she’s not juggling work, you can be sure to find her traveling the world with her little family.