Boeing and Alaska Airlines are being sued for $1 billion in damages by three passengers who were onboard a 737 Max 9 flight that suffered a now-infamous door panel blowout midflight. The suit accuses both parties of negligence.

Announced on February 23, the lawsuit says both Boeing and Alaska Airlines were negligent for allegedly ignoring warning signs that could have prevented the January 5 incident, according to NBC News. Given everything we’ve learned about Boeing over the past few years, these passengers may be onto something. Even though just three people are named in the lawsuit it’s more than just them who could benefit. It also seeks damages on behalf of other passengers who may have flown on Boeing 737 Max 9 airplanes, which the Federal Aviation Administration grounded for a period following the incident.

“This experience jeopardized the lives of the 174 passengers and six crew members that were onboard. For those reasons, the lawsuit seeks substantial punitive damages … for what was a preventable incident,” NBC News reports the lawsuit says.

Here’s more about the lawsuit, from CBS News:

A complaint was filed Feb. 20 in Multnomah County, Oregon, on behalf of Kyle Rinker, Amanda Strickland and Kevin Kwok, all of whom were on board Alaska Flight 1282 when an unused exit door detached from the aircraft minutes into a scheduled trip from Portland to Ontario, California, in early January. Multnomah County includes Portland.

The lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages, to be determined at trial, from Boeing, the corporate giant that manufactured the 737 Max 9 jet flown by Alaska Airlines.

“As a direct result of the frightful, death-threatening failure of the Boeing aircraft, Mr. Kwok, Mr. Rinker, and Ms. Strickland suffered severe mental, emotional, and psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress, and physical injuries,” the lawsuit says, noting how the sudden pressure change inside the cabin “caused some passengers’ ears to bleed.”

Jonathan W. Johnson, LLC, an aviation law firm based in Atlanta that filed the complaint on behalf of Kwok, Rinker and Strickland, said in a news release that it hopes “to hold Boeing accountable for its negligence which had caused extreme panic, fear, and post-traumatic stress.” It called the blow-out on flight 1282 “ a preventable incident” that not only threatened the lives of passengers and crew on board that specific plane, but others manufactured by Boeing that were found during subsequent investigations to have similar defects.

The lawsuit alleges the incident on Flight 1282 is “just one terrible chapter in the evolving story of Boeing and Alaska Airlines placing profits above safety.”

CBS News points out that even though the plane landed safely back in Portland, Several passengers suffered minor injuries and lost phones and other belongings that were sucked out of the gaping hole in the side of the aircraft. A teenage boy – originally seated with his mother in the row next to the troubled door panel – had his shirt ripped off by the wind. That was then parodied by “SNL” which is a horrible fate to suffer.

737 Max 9s owned by Alaska and United Airlines have been cleared to fly again following the January 5 SNAFU, but both airlines have said they are reconsidering whether to place additional orders with Boeing for more Maxs, including the upcoming Max 10 longboi.



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