New lawsuit alleges collusion between Boeing, FAA before 737 crashes

SEATLE -- A new lawsuit against Boeing alleges collusion with the Federal Aviation Administration before two 737 Max crashes left hundreds dead.

“I feel so privileged that I got to see my brother the day before the crash,” Zekarias Shenkut said tearfully.

His brother Mulugeta, a married father of three who worked to bring clean water and sanitation to people in Africa, was killed along with 156 others when a Boeing 737 Max crashed minutes after takeoff in Ethiopia last March.

“He was killed by a chain of events that were overlooked,” Shenkut said.

That alleged chain of events were preventable failures, according to attorneys in their suit. They released pictures and diagrams, saying Boeing produced a defective airplane that wasn’t safe and claimed the FAA became too cozy with Boeing - leading to a lack of proper oversight in clearing the 737 Max to fly.

“We alleged a conspiracy against the FAA and Boeing that they worked together,” the lawsuit read.

The FAA says it doesn’t comment on litigation, but added, “Its certification process has ‘consistently produced safe aircraft designs.’” Adding that certifying the 737 Max “took five years and involved 110,000 hours of work on the part of FAA personnel.”

Boeing responded saying, “Weeks ago, Boeing announced a $100 million payment to help the families and communities affected by the 737 Max crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.”

But Shenkut says it came months after the crash, and Boeing has never reached out directly to the families.

“They never even sent out a simple card,” he said. “They say, ‘We’re sorry. We’re sorry.’ To who?”

The claim, which is not the first against the FAA concerning the 737 Max, is asking for $800 million.

The government has six months to respond and a lawsuit could follow if approved. Several victims’ family members have joined the lawsuit against Boeing.