Malaysia

Families of passengers hire US law firm to sue Boeing, MAS over MH370 tragedy

Monica Kelly (centre) with other partners and staff of US aviation law experts Ribbeck Law Chartered at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, March 26, 2014.Monica Kelly (centre) with other partners and staff of US aviation law experts Ribbeck Law Chartered at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today. - The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, March 26, 2014.More families have approached a Chicago-based law firm to help them file a lawsuit against the 777 aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co and Malaysia Airlines as they believe the plane had crashed due to mechanical failure.

The families – from China, Malaysia and Indonesia – are the latest to approach Ribbeck Law Chartered, who are aviation law experts, after the firm had filed a Petition for Discovery in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, on Tuesday on behalf of Dr Januari Siregar who lost his 25-year-old son in the MH370 crash.

Dr Januari, who is also a lawyer, had approached Ribbeck as he had worked with them during the Garuda Indonesia plane crash five years ago.

The petition is meant to secure design and manufacturing defects that may have led to the disaster which claimed the lives of the 239 passengers and crew onboard.

The 239 people on the plane included 153 Chinese nationals and 12 crew members who were all Malaysian.

Ribbeck's head of Global Aviation Litigation Monica Kelly said the filing is a pre-litigation move to identify the parties responsible for the crash.

Boeing was named as the first defendant while Malaysia Airlines, the flight operator, was named as the second defendant.

"We believe that both defendants named are responsible for the disaster of flight MH370," Kelly said.

She revealed that the parties had 30 days to reply to the petition, after which the firm would file a multi-million-dollar lawsuit on behalf of the families against those who are deemed responsible.

"We expect to represent more than 50% of the families of passengers who were on board that flight," she added.

"The families have accepted that the plane has crashed and they are ready to find out the real reason why this happened and this action is going to provide that information for them.

"We will prove that it was a mechanical failure of the aircraft design that caused the plane to crash.

MH370, which was a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, had vanished from the radar on March 8 shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport enroute to Beijing.

Seventeen days into the search, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that based on new evidence, flight MH370 had ended in the southern Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia, with no survivors.

However, no debris has been found yet although several satellite sightings of objects in the area have been reported. – March 26, 2014.

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