Boeing will have to appear in a Texas court at the end of January to be indicted for fraud, following complaints from the families of victims of the 737 MAX 8 crashes at Lion Air and then Ethiopian Airlines, which left 346 dead.
A Texas federal judge ruled on Thursday (January 19) that the aircraft manufacturer must appear in a Texas court on January 26.
Originally, Boeing was granted immunity by the US Department of Justice under an out-of-court settlement for a stay of prosecution. Boeing committed to paying $2.5 billion.
However, US District Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas in Fort Worth is now ordering Boeing to appear in court for an indictment because the victims’ families were not involved in the proceedings.
As such, these relatives should have been involved in the decision-making process before the Department of Justice made a deal with Boeing.
According to the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, that should have been the case. This proceeding is separate from the civil lawsuit filed against Boeing by the victims’ families
The pro bono attorney handling the victim families’ lawsuits, Paul G. Cassell, said on 19th January that, “The families appreciate the judge’s ruling that Boeing will be treated like all other defendants in federal criminal cases, and arraigned. Some family members plan to travel to Texas next week to speak with the company criminally responsible for the deaths of their loved ones.”
According to the firm Clifford Law, the crashes in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019 have resulted in significant financial losses for Boeing, with costs exceeding $20 billion. These incidents also led to the grounding of the MAX for 20 months and prompted Congress to pass legislation reforming aircraft certification. This law has recently been applied to the MAX 7 and MAX 10 models