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Multi-million lawsuit launched against Boeing, Malaysia Airlines

March 26, 2014, Chicago, Il. - Ribbeck Law Chartered has announced that the families of the passengers Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370 have initiated a multimillion dollar litigation process against The Boeing Company, the manufacturers of the accident Boeing 777-200 aircraft, and Malaysia Airlines, the operator of the accident plane. Monica Kelly, the lead Ribbeck Law lawyer in this case, stated that, “We believe that both defendants named are responsible for the disaster of Flight MH 370.” 


March 26, 2014
By Carey Fredericks

Kelly, head of Global Aviation Litigation at Ribbeck Law stated that, “today Ribbeck Law filed a Petition for Discovery in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, on behalf of Dr. Januari Siregar, SH., M. Hum, a lawyer who lost his son in this terrible crash.”  “Dr. Siregar’s son was returning to work to Beijing onboard Flight MH 370, Kelly added.”

Kelly mentioned that, “The Boeing Company, the manufacturer of the Boeing 777-200 aircraft, is the first defendant named in the Petition for Discovery. The second defendant named is the flight operator, Malaysian Airlines. Additional pleadings will be filed in the next few days against other potential defendants who are designers and manufacturers of the component parts that may have failed in the aircraft.”

Kelly stated that, “we are requesting the judge to order Boeing to provide the identity of the component part manufacturers that designed and manufactured the Underwater Locator Beacon(ULB); the identity of the company which designed and manufactured the electric components and electric wiring in the aircraft; the identity of the person or company in possession of the manuals of the aircraft; the identity of the person or company which designed and manufactured any batteries in the aircraft; the identity of the person or company which designed and manufactured the fire alarm systems in the plane; the identity of the person or company which designed and manufactured the generators that supply emergency oxygen in the plane;  the identity of the company or person who last inspected the fuselage; the identity or person who provided maintenance to the aircraft," among other information.

Kelly added that the “Petition for Discovery" demands that Boeing produce the identity of the person or company who is in possession of the evidence of findings of corrosion and fractures in the fuselage of the Boeing 777 fleet that could lead to catastrophic fatal depressurization of the cockpit.”

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The FAA circulated a draft of the directive warning of cracking and corrosion problems in the Boeing 777 model aircraft on September 26, 2013.  It made it mandatory a few months later.  The Federal Aviation Administration issued an AD (Airworthiness Directive) to detect and correct cracking and corrosion in the fuselage skin, which could lead to rapid decompression and loss of structural integrity of the airplane.  During a sudden drop in cabin pressure, the crew and passengers can become unconscious, leaving no one at the controls of the affected aircraft.  The FAA was prompted by a report of cracking in the fuselage skin underneath the satellite communication (SATCOM) antenna adapter.

With regards to Malaysian Airlines, Kelly stated that “we are requesting the judge in Chicago to order Malaysia Airlines to provide the identity of the person or company who is in possession of information pertaining to the training of the crew for catastrophic incidents including fire in the cockpit and sudden depressurization; the identity of the person or company who is in possession of the security practices of Malaysia Airlines; the identity of the person or company who provided training to the crew with regards to safety of the aircraft; the identity of the person or company who is in possession of the documents pertaining to Malaysia Airlines physical and psychological evaluations of the crew; and the identity of the person or company who is in possession of the documents pertaining to any training the crew received on Cockpit Resource Management (CRM).

In addition to the legal process in Chicago, Ribbeck Law is requesting on behalf of the families that U.S. scientists be included in the search for the wreckage and bodies.  Kelly stated that, “our clients have officially respectfully requested that the official investigators include several maritime, aviation and intelligence experts from the USA in this investigation.  In particular they have asked that the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) be involved. Based in Massachusetts, WHOI has worked in the Air France crash search, the Amelia Earhart search and Titanic expedition.”  Kelly added that considering that the search area in the Indian Ocean in this case, the best equipment to use is the WHOI’s Remus 6000 vehicle, an unmanned vehicle, and a wide area site sonar system. The Remus can do a survey up to a depth of 6,000 metres.  The equipment currently used is not capable of searching in the necessary depths in the Indian Ocean.”

“The U.S. experts have developed the best technology in the world for submarine searches.  The more qualified and experienced scientists we bring in the investigation, the better our chances to locate the wreckage and bodies of the passengers," Kelly said.

 The filing in Chicago will secure through the courts evidence of possible design and manufacturing defects that may have contributed to the disaster. “Through the initial discovery process in the courts, we will obtain for the families of the victims all the facts and information necessary to prove fault and from the start we will seek to preserve the evidence in this case, including protecting the wreckage from destructive testing," Kelly said. "We will leave no stone unturned, and successful discovery achieves the goal of setting the tone from the onset.  It will lead to earlier and higher recovery amounts for our clients. During the initial discovery period, all documents such as design, manufacturing, maintenance records, safety manuals, internal memos and other evidence that might support the case will be collected.”

She added that “it is extremely important for the victims we represent that all responsible parties are brought to justice without exceptions. We must find what caused the aircraft to crash and demand that the problems with the airline and the aircraft’s design and manufacturing are immediately resolved to avoid future tragedies.”

Dr. Siregar, one of Ribbeck Law Chartered’s clients and the father of one of the passengers, stated “all of the families of the victims want to know the truth and causes of this tragedy, same mistakes must be avoided in the future and those responsible must be brought to court.  I seek justice for my son and all of the people who lost their lives in the crash.”

Kelly noted that, among other things, the Petition for Discovery requests that the judge order the defendants to completely produce all the design and manufacturing documents of the fuselage of the accident aircraft.

Regarding the investigation of the accident aircraft, Kelly said that, pursuant to international treaties, the official governmental investigation is specifically prohibited from making determinations of liability or fault.  “This is why legal actions by the families of the victims are so vital,” she said. "The government cannot tell the families who is at fault, and just compensation to these families cannot be provided under the law, until liability of all parties is established first.  Ribbeck Law’s independent experts will monitor the official investigation and will conduct our own investigation for our clients to assign fault to each of the responsible parties for this tragedy.”