Judge Dismisses MAX Pilots’ Suit Against Boeing


A federal judge has ruled that Boeing doesn’t have to pay for the career disruption suffered by pilots who were freshly typed in the 737 MAX when it was grounded in March of 2019. According to Simple Flying Judge Steven C. Seeger, of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, agreed some pilots lost income because of the grounding but the issues with the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System were not closely enough linked to those losses to give the pilots a legal case for damages. He dismissed their suit against Boeing on Monday.

“Stretching causation to cover people who weren’t on the [crashed 737 MAX] planes would expand the boundaries of liability much too far,” Seeger wrote in the judgment quoted by Simple Flying. “It is foreseeable that a defective plane might not fly. And it is natural to think that a defective design might cause accidents. But when you think about a defective plane, and the problems that could ensue, lost income by people who don’t crash probably isn’t at the top of the list.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. The Max was supposed to enter service without type training, or pilot certification. Where Boeing screwed the pooch was when they failed to instruct pilots on a particular system that functioned without their input, and cranked AND trim to the limits with no warning. It’s still a mystery why the crews didn’t think to pickle the trim motors.

      • I may be wrong, but didn’t
        Boeing offer the Max with an optional AOA dis-agreement annunciator plus Optional AOA direct readout on both pilot’s flight displays? Only the “leasing” companies that ordered the sparsely spec’d out Boeing in order to maximize profits declined the options. Lion Air & Ethiopian Airways didn’t have a flight standards branch with sufficient aircraft knowledge to order a properly equipped aircraft. Although surprised by the aircrafts unusual deviation movements the crew had to realize they had a control issue and memory items calls for both cut-out switches to off…….manually fly the aircraft to a return landing. just saying.

  2. It is very sad to see that pilot training has degraded to this level. Makes me sick thinking about people losing their loved ones because of incompetance.