US selects compensation experts to oversee Boeing 737 MAX victim fund
Published: Mar 11, 2021 05:38 PM
Prominent attorneys Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros have been named to oversee a $500 million victim compensation fund for the relatives of 346 people killed in two fatal Boeing 737 MAX crashes, a spokeswoman for Feinberg confirmed on Wednesday, the second anniversary of the second crash.

Boeing 737 Max airplanes sit parked at the company's production facility on November 18, 2020 in Renton, Washington. Photo: VCG

Boeing 737 Max airplanes sit parked at the company's production facility on November 18, 2020 in Renton, Washington DC, the US. Photo: VCG

The fund is part of a $2.5 billion Justice Department (DOJ)  settlement reached in January with Boeing Co after prosecutors charged the company with fraud over the certification of the 737 MAX following a Lion Air crash on October 29, 2019 and an Ethiopian Airlines disaster on March 10, 2019.

Boeing said it looked "forward to working with Mr Feinberg and Ms Biros to ensure the prompt distribution of these funds." The settlement allowed Boeing to avoid criminal prosecution but did not impact civil litigation against the planemaker by victims' relatives.

Feinberg and Biros have administered many compensation funds including for victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, General Motors ignition switch crashes and numerous school shootings. 

In July 2019, Boeing named Feinberg and Biros to oversee the distribution of a separate $50 million to the families of those killed in the crashes.

Under the Justice Department agreement, Boeing was required to propose three candidates to administer the fund. 

In this role, they will make recommendations about payments but the Justice Department will make final decisions on all payments. 

While Boeing has mostly settled Lion Air lawsuits, it still face more than 100 lawsuits in Chicago federal court by families of the Ethiopian crash asking why the MAX continued flying after the first disaster.

Some relatives were commemorating the second anniversary on Wednesday with protests and vigils in Washington, and Toronto, where they have asked regulators to reconsider their decision to let the 737 MAX fly again after a nearly two-year safety ban.

The DOJ settlement includes a fine of $243.6 million and compensation to airlines of $1.77 billion over fraud conspiracy charges related to the plane's flawed design.
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