Skip to comments.If filed, plane lawsuits might not get heard in US
Posted on 04/16/2014 7:28:47 PM PDT by posterchild
BEIJING (AP) Since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing, some lawyers have claimed they can get several millions of dollars in damages for each lost passenger by taking the cases to the United States. But past lawsuits show U.S. federal courts are more likely to throw such cases out if the crashes happened overseas.
Major disasters draw lawyers looking to sign up clients for big lawsuits, and the missing Malaysian plane, which was carrying mostly Chinese passengers, has been no exception. Lawyers from various firms have descended on a Beijing hotel where relatives of the passengers have been staying, and have even traveled around China to visit them in their homes.
The Chinese relatives have said their main focus remains on the search for the plane, so lawyers have had little luck so far in signing up clients here, despite dangling the potential of major damage awards.
"This is not the right point in time to discuss legal matters because nothing has been found yet and everybody has no idea what exactly happened to the plane," said Steve Wang, a representative of some of the Chinese relatives.
Relatives can expect to get at least about $175,000 from Malaysia Airlines for each lost passenger under terms of the Montreal Convention, an international treaty governing air travel compensation. The relatives can also sue the carrier in Malaysia or their home countries for further damages.
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I see no legal basis to file in the US. There was no problem with the plane itself so Boeing carries not liability in this issue. The flight did not originate or end upon US soil and at no time during the flight even did it even cross into US airspace.
Thus there is no US defendant
IIRC It used to be called ‘venue shopping’ and looking for ‘deep pockets.’ I’m not sure what it is called now.
It is sad that the US is known as a litigant friendly place.
I'm also not so sure that I'd immediately dismiss the possibility of a problem with the aircraft that might make Boeing culpable.
Right, I agree. I suppose they could sue Boeing and allege some problem with the plane, but good luck proving that at this point.
IMHO, they won't find the plane for years. In fact it would not surprise me if they never find it.
They don’t have to find the airplane. “Res ipsa loquitor”. The facts speak for themselves. The families can sue due to the fact that their loved ones boarded an airplane and, though no one knows what happened, the plane did not land safely.
Second, the Death on the High Seas act sets a limit as to how much each family can be paid. That’s assuming that Malaysia is a signatory to the Montreal Convention, where the world’s airlines met to set artificial limits to damages so that airlines could purchase reasonable liability insurance.
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