As Boeing is set to appear in front of a court in Texas, the United States, the families of the passengers killed in two 737 MAX crashes are asking the judge to appoint an independent party to look into the aerospace company’s culture of safety and ethics.
The family members filed a brief on January 25, 2023, the day before Boeing’s representatives are set to appear at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas on January 26, 2023.
While Boeing agreed to a settlement with the Department of Justice (DoJ) to avoid fraud charges, the district’s judge Reed O’Connor ordered the planemaker to appear in front of the court because the DoJ violated a victims-right law that prohibits the executive department of secretly negotiating with companies without notifying the victims.
It remains unclear whether the judge wants to remove Boeing’s immunity from criminal charges regarding the two fatal crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that, in total, claimed the lives of 346 people.
According to the filed brief, the relatives of the victim’s state that the planemaker “committed the deadliest corporate crime in U.S. history”. Furthermore, if it had not defrauded the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in a “criminal conspiracy”, all of the people on board the crashed aircraft would have continued to live until this day. “Only an independent monitor — the proverbial second set of eyes — can begin to restore confidence in Boeing and ensure safety of the community,” the filing continued.
Boeing’s deal with DoJ resulted in the manufacturer of the 737 MAX paying out up to $2.5 billion in fines and compensation to airlines, governments, and families of the victims of up to $2.5 billion. The deal also included the manufacturer’s admittance that it defrauded the FAA. David Calhoun, who succeeded Dennis Muilenburg as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Boeing, after the latter was ousted due to the 737 MAX crisis, told CNBC on January 25, 2023, that “my reaction to the families is always the same, just nothing but heartbreak”.