MH370: Boeing and MAS face $1.9b lawsuit

KUALA LUMPUR - Family members of the victims of the ill-fated Flight MH370 are filing an RM4.95 billion (S$1.9 billion) suit for compensation, against Boeing and Malaysia Airlines.

Chicago-based firm, Ribbeck Law Chartered, who are acting for the family members have started proceedings by filing a petition of discovery in an Illinois court.

Monica Kelly, the lead lawyer from Ribbeck Law, said the firm which specialises in aviation-law had been approached by family members from China and Indonesia.

Of the 239 people on board the MH370, there were 154 China-nationals, 49 Malaysians, and seven Indonesians.

Kelly said they had spoken to family members in many countries and expected about half of those affected to take part in the suit.

She said the fact that neither the wreckage of MH370 nor the bodies of the pasengers have been found would not affect the case, as they would be inspecting the rest of the MAS fleet for similar design flaws.

"We've had successful cases where the plane, the victims or even the blackbox were not found," said Kelly, during a briefing with the press, here.

Manuel Von Ribbeck, of Ribbeck Law, said they were 100 per cent confident of winning the suit.

He explained that was because in the law, passengers are never at fault, and it was merely a matter of ensuring the family were compensated fully.

Ribbeck said the coverage for compensation was about 1.5billion USD (RM4.95 bil), and the firm would demand the full amount be paid.

For the purpose of the suit, the firm is assuming the passengers are all deceased, based on the Malaysian Prime Minister's announcement.

"We hope that miracles can happen, but based on the data we've seen so far, it does not look good for the flight and her passengers," said Ribbeck.

Boeing, the manufacturers of the 777-200 aircraft, has been on the receiving end of a number of lawsuits in the past.

The most recent lawsuit was in January this year by a group of passengers, represented by Ribbeck Law, who were aboard an Asiana Airlines flight that crash-landed in San Francisco on July 6 last year. Three people were killed and more than 180 others hurt.