Australian Pilot Seeks Damages For Boeing 737 MAX Psychological Distress

ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) is reporting that Queensland’s International Aerospace Law and Policy Group (IALPG), along with Chicago aviation specialist law firm PMJ PLLC, will seek damages on behalf of a pilot, referred to as Pilot X. Most notably, the damages will be sought for “present and future losses” that have been brought about by the psychological impacts of the two MAX 8 crashes.

Boeing is one of the defendants in this lawsuit. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Psychological distress

Joseph Wheeler, the principal and founder of IALPG said the following in a statement:

“[Distress] has the potential to damage these pilots’ careers and livelihoods which may manifest as economic losses for them, and consequent loss of a significant pool of expertise and aviation experience from the profession at a time when the global pilot shortage is a reality,”

In fact, by making this case public, the IALPG hopes to have other pilots join the claim as a class action lawsuit. The plan moving forward is to file the suit at a state level against Boeing, and take on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at the federal level.

“Our team is preparing an action for damages in both US courts and relevant notices of claim against the FAA for damages, including punitive damages, on behalf of pilots led by Pilot X.”

The Federal Aviation Administration will be taken to court at the Federal level. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

IALPG is an Australian air and space law firm that provides legal and policy advice solutions for matters regarding civil aviation as well as “international representation, and aviation compensation claims advice and representation”. As an Australian firm, they have an affiliation with the American firm PMJ PLLC. This will allow them to better navigate the U.S. court system.

The American firm is represented by Patrick Jones. According to the official website, Jones has over 20 years of experience in International Aviation Law.

One of many lawsuits

As we reported in a previous article, Boeing faces a number of class-action lawsuits regarding its 737 MAX crisis. These come from various groups including:

  • Boeing shareholders
  • Family members of victims in Lion Air’s October incident
  • The former inspector general for the U.S. Transportation Department on behalf of the estate of George Thugge – an Ethiopian Airline’s crash victim
  • Finally, Two Canadians, who lost 10 family members in the Ethiopian crash. Their suit alleges that Boeing “downplayed known safety risks in its troubled 737 MAX 8 aircraft, as did the FAA”.
    This is just one of many lawsuits related to the 737 MAX crisis. Photo: Wikipedia

Conclusion

In conclusion, it’s hard to tell if this lawsuit has a chance. Psychological distress and claiming for present and future losses may be challenging as it is speculative and subjective. The defense may argue that the job of a pilot, by its nature, induces stress.

It is clear that if this lawsuit is successful, it would be another devastating hit to Boeing. It could possibly open the door to more cases like this. We will update you on this particular case as it develops.

Do you think that Pilot X and IALPG have a case that they can win? We’d love to know your opinion. Leave us a comment!

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