| March 31
March 31 An Illinois judge on Monday dismissed a
U.S. law firm's motion to obtain evidence of possible design and
manufacturing defects from Boeing Co and Malaysian
Airline System in connection with the disappearance
of flight MH370 three weeks earlier.
Cook County Judge Kathy Flanagan also threatened to impose
sanctions against Ribbeck Law Chartered, citing previous
instances where the Chicago-based law firm had "improperly
brought" petitions, such as last year's Asiana Airlines plane
crash in San Francisco.
"Despite these orders, the same law firm has proceeded, yet
again, with the filing of the instant petition, knowing full
well that there is no basis to do so," said Flanagan. "Should
this law firm choose to do so, the court will impose sanctions
on its own motion."
Ribbeck Law last week submitted, in Illinois Circuit Court,
the first-filed legal action arising from the Malaysian plane
tragedy saying it sought documents from the two companies
concerning employees as well as sales and lease agreements,
among other things.
The firm said at the time it expected to represent families
of more than half of the passengers onboard the missing flight,
which may have crashed in the remote southern Indian Ocean with
all 239 on board presumed dead.
Several U.S. aviation lawyers and experts called the Ribbeck
filing premature and a publicity stunt, since the details of the
plane's disappearance were still largely unknown.
Justin Green, a lawyer with competitor aviation law firm
Kreindler & Kreindler, said the filing was "nothing short of
"Without plane wreckage, victims' bodies and any substantial
evidence of cause or potential motive, there is simply no way to
determine liability at this point in the investigation, and any
legal counsel should recognize that," he said in a statement on
Ribbeck lawyer Mervin Mateo said in an interview he had not
yet reviewed Flanagan's ruling but that the firm would not be
deterred in its attempts to bring lawsuits against Malaysian
Airlines and Boeing.
Mateo told said last week the firm had its own experts doing
investigations of the Malaysian crash.
He named one expert, Canadian plane crash investigator Max
Vermij, who has investigated plane disasters such as the
Asiana crash and the EgyptAir crash of 1999, said in a separate
interview, "I'm just waiting ... They haven't found anything
that is suspicious in terms of the handling of the situation.
It's more likely that it's just a straight accident ... We don't
really know anything."
(Reporting By Casey Sullivan; Editing by Ted Botha and Steve