By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON -A U.S. judge on Monday approved Boeing Co’s agreement to acknowledge liability for compensatory damages in lawsuits filed by families of the 157 people killed in the 2019 Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash.
As a result of the agreement filed last week between Boeing and the families, lawyers for the victims will not seek punitive damages and Boeing will not challenge the lawsuits being filed in Illinois.
Boeing said last week it was “committed to ensuring that all families who lost loved ones in the accidents are fully and fairly compensated for their loss.”
Lawyers for the victims noted in a statement last week that Boeing admitted under the agreement “that the 737 MAX had an unsafe condition, and that it will not attempt to blame anyone else” for the crash.
All further planned depositions with former and senior Boeing executives were canceled as a condition of the settlement.
Boeing’s best-selling plane was grounded for 20 months after 346 people died in two 737 MAX crashes – in Indonesia in 2018 and in Ethiopia in 2019. The plane was returned to service after Boeing made significant software and training improvements.
The crashes already have cost Boeing some $20 billion. In January, Boeing agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice including $2.5 billion in fines and compensation stemming from the 737 MAX crashes, including the Lion Air crash in October 2018.
Under the deal with Boeing, the victims’ families also agreed to dismiss claims against Rosemount Aerospace, a company that made sensors for the 737 MAX, and Raytheon Technologies Corp’s Rockwell Collins, the parent of Rosemount and a key supplier for the MAX.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Howard Goller)