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#ASDailyScoop: US district judge postpones Ethiopian Air 737 Max litigation

Debris from an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 jet sits in a field near Bishoftu, where the plane crashed after taking off from Addis Ababa in 2019 (Photo:AFP/Getty Images)

Addis Ababa – Boeing Co. has settled another case with the relatives of those killed in a 2019 Ethiopian Airlines jet disaster, delaying a trial that was scheduled to start yesterday. The development comes after Boeing attorney Dan Webb informed US District Judge Jorge Alonso that there are now just 68 cases remaining in litigation, as opposed to the 157 passengers on the tragic plane.

On Monday, 19 June, 2023, an attorney representing Boeing spoke with Robert Clifford, a plaintiff’s attorney, about preparing a “mediation proposal” that could settle the remaining cases. This procedure would include dividing the defendants into various trials, according to Webb, who was cited by Bloomberg Law, a subscription-based service.

Boeing agreed to a responsibility clause in 2021 that stated it would only be responsible for compensatory damages and not punitive ones as a result of the tragedy. Each Ethiopian Air plaintiff will negotiate their own contract with Boeing in accordance with that agreement. Judge Alonso of the US District Court gave counsel until July 11, 2023, to submit briefs regarding a trial timeline for the remaining cases. Even if the sole issue remaining in dispute is compensation to families, Boeing still has 68 cases to settle.

The same court had already decided on 03 June, 2023, that the families of the crash victims might claim damages for the passengers’ suffering prior to the plane’s impact with the ground.

All 157 people on board an aircraft to Nairobi that left Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa in March 2019 perished when it crashed in a field six minutes after takeoff. Five months prior to the tragedy in Ethiopia, a 737 MAX of the same kind crashed in Indonesia, killing 189 people.

Two catastrophic Boeing 737 MAX crashes that resulted in a total of 346 fatalities led to the airplane’s 20-month global grounding in March 2019. This decision costed Boeing over $20 billion. AS

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