Kenyan sues Boeing over Ethiopian Airlines crash

A Kenyan has filed a lawsuit in Chicago against the US aviation giant Boeing over the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crash that killed 157 people.

Nairobi-based lawyer Mr Irungu Kang’ata said that the case was filed last Thursday in the Illinois Northern District Court before Judge Rebecca R Pallmeyer.

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The plaintiff in the case, number 1:19-CV-02770, is Mr. Fredrick Karanja Mungai, while the defendants are Boeing Corporation and Rosemount Aerospace Inc, which manufactured the allegedly defective part of the plane.

According to court documents, Mr. Mungai, was appointed the special administrator of the estate of Helen Waithira Karanja, who died in the crash. The lawsuit accuses Boeing of negligence and that the company failed to warn the public, airlines and pilots of the airplane’s allegedly erroneous sensors.

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In the court papers, Mr. Mungai said that Boeing’s subject aircraft was defective in design and had inadequate warnings. “At all times material, Defendant Boeing failed to warn the public, the airlines, pilots, users, and intended third-party beneficiaries of the 737 MAX 8’s unreasonably dangerous and defective design, that caused it to enter into an uncontrollable nosedive,” he said.

A preliminary report released earlier this month showed that the Ethiopian Airlines pilots wrestled with a computer system that repeatedly ordered the nose down due to a faulty sensor data.

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Mr Mungai is the second Kenyan to sue Boeing in the US after the family of the late George Kabau, who died in the crash, filed a lawsuit on April 15. The family is represented by lawyer Nomi Husain, who is also representing one of the American families who lost their kin in the crash.

Mr Kang’ata has urged other affected families in Kenya to join Mr Mungai’s suit and get the compensation that they deserve following the loss of their loved ones. The Foreign Affairs ministry had asked families of victims of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash to secure a Grant of Representation from the court in order to get compensation.

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Ten Canadian families will also today to file lawsuits against Boeing. The families will be represented by Clifford Law Offices of Chicago and Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy of San Francisco.

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