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Department of Justice Takes Important First Step in the Case Towards Holding Boeing for Causing the Deaths of 346 People in Two 737 MAX8 Crashes

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) late today (Tuesday, May 14, 2024) concluded that Boeing breached an agreement that it had reached three years ago regarding the safety of its aircraft. This important step means that the pending criminal conspiracy charge filed against Boeing in federal district court in Texas will now move forward against the aircraft manufacturer that could lead to a criminal conviction against Boeing.

The DOJ had entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with Boeing in January 2021 that allowed the major aircraft manufacturer to avoid criminal prosecution in exchange for complying with new safety obligations. However, the DOJ today found that Boeing is in breach of that Agreement and now must face a criminal trial in the Northern District of Texas before U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor.

“This is a positive first step, and for the families, a long time coming. But we need to see further action from DOJ to hold Boeing accountable, and plan to use our meeting on May 31 to explain in more detail what we believe would be a satisfactory remedy to Boeing’s ongoing criminal conduct,” said Paul Cassell, attorney for the victims’ families and a professor of law at the University of Utah College of Law.

A separate civil action also is pending against Boeing in federal district court in Chicago where Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago, is Lead Counsel On behalf of the families, Clifford said, “The lawyers for all of the victims’ families have supported them during this battle, and we are now gratified that the Department of Justice is standing up for the rights of these families – admitted crime victims – who have fought so hard for the protection of their rights and that of the flying public under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.”

The families of the two crashes of the Boeing 737 MAX8 that occurred five years ago have a meeting scheduled with DOJ representatives in Washington, D.C., on May 31 to discuss next steps in this matter and how the proceedings will be moving forward.

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