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Boeing has settled almost all Lion Air crash-death claims

UPDATED: Wed., July 8, 2020

Search-and-rescue team members look at debris recovered from the crash site of a Boeing Max 737 jet operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Oct. 29, 2018.  (Rony Zakaria/Bloomberg)
Search-and-rescue team members look at debris recovered from the crash site of a Boeing Max 737 jet operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Oct. 29, 2018. (Rony Zakaria/Bloomberg)
By Janan Hanna Bloomberg

Boeing said it has settled 90% of the wrongful death claims filed in a U.S. court over the 2018 crash of a 737 Max jet operated by Lion Air.

Claims relating to 171 of the 189 people on board Lion Air Flight JT 610 have been settled, Boeing said Tuesday in a Chicago federal court filing. The company didn’t say how much it paid the families or estates of the passengers and crew members killed in the crash.

Of the resolved cases, five were partially settled because they involved more than one claim per person killed or involved claims represented by more than one law firm, Chicago-based Boeing said. The company said it is optimistic that the remaining cases will be resolved.

The crash occurred over the Java Sea in October 2018 and was followed five months later by another 737 Max crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people. The disasters led to lawsuits alleging the jets were unsafe and had a faulty software system. The 737 Max fleet has been grounded, Boeing sales have plunged and the U.S. government is investigating the aircraft’s flight-control system.

“There are some remaining cases with extraordinary losses, including kids completely orphaned who lost both parents,” said Sanjiv Singh, a lawyer representing families of some victims. “It remains to be seen whether we can bring Boeing to the table on these cases.”

Singh said he is prepared to go to court, including in the U.S., to settle those remaining cases.

A year ago, Boeing said it would offer $100 million to support the families of victims and communities of those affected by the crashes.

“Boeing has been working diligently to settle these cases through a mediation process,” Peter Pedraza, a company spokesman, said in an email. “We are pleased to have made significant progress in recent months in resolving cases brought by the victims’ families on terms that we believe fairly compensate them.”

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