Two families who lost loved ones in the crash of the 737 Boeing Max8 aircraft in Ethiopia on March 10 met Monday (June 10, 2019) with the heads of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The meetings are believed to be the first of their kind with victims’ families.
At the request of Paul Njoroge of Canada, who lost his wife and three small children and his mother-in-law, and the parents of Samya Rose Stumo, 24, of Massachusetts, the heads of the FAA and NTSB agreed to hear the concerns of these victims’ families about the crash and possible un-grounding of the 737 Max 8 & 9. The request for the meetings was joined by numerous other family members representing 10 victims in the crash who were from the US, Canada, Uganda, UK, Kenya, Mozambique and Poland but were unable to attend.
“We wanted to be assured that everything within the power of these agencies that can be done is being done to ensure the future safety of these planes,” said Nadia Milleron, mother of victim Samya Stumo and niece of noted consumer advocate Ralph Nader. “We came away from our meeting feeling that Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell intends to keep his promise to update us and include us as part of the process as the FAA considers proposed fixes to the 737 Max.”
Njoroge said, “At the NTSB we were deeply impressed by the unwavering commitment expressed by Robert Sumwalt and his team as they carry out a detailed and thorough examination of all of the facts related to both Max crashes.”
These families are represented by Clifford Law Offices of Chicago and Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy of San Francisco, aviation attorneys who have represented victims’ families in aviation tragedies around the world.
“The tireless work of these families is simply amazing in light of the unspeakable tragedy they have suffered,” said Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner at Clifford Law Offices. “I have been an advocate for victims’ rights following aviation crashes in America for more than four decades, and these families deserve a voice not only for themselves but for all of the victims for whom they speak.”
The meetings were held Monday afternoon in Washington, D.C., each one lasting nearly two hours and included three high-level staff people from each office in addition to the heads. “We feel that we came away with assurances that the 737 Max will not be allowed to fly until they know it is safe. We cannot allow this tragedy to happen to anyone else,” Milleron said. Her brother, Tarek Milleron, also attended the meetings as part of the family group.
Milleron and her husband, Michael Stumo attended the Aviation Subcommittee hearing held on March 15 of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in Washington, D.C., to ensure that the victims’ families voices would be heard. They submitted testimony that was made a formal part of that congressional record.
The families will remain in Washington, D.C. throughout most of this week to meet with members of the staffs of Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) Tuesday and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Wednesday. They also met Monday with Nader who has been an outspoken advocate to permanently ground the 737 Boeing Max 8 aircraft because of a faulty design as well as a faulty software system.
The families’ lawyers have filed a nine-count federal complaint in federal district court in Chicago, the corporate headquarters of Boeing.
The request for the meeting was joined by other family members who were not able to attend. They are: Brittney Riffel (wife to victim Melvin Riffel and sister-in-law to victim Bennett Riffel) USA, Clariss Moore, Chris Moore, David Moore (parents and brother to victim Danielle Moore) Canada, James Okello (family of victim Christine Alalo) Uganda Suzanne Camp, John Messent, Jade Ballard, Amber Tansky, Matthew Messent, Jasper Messent (parents and siblings of victim Micah John Messent) Canada, Ben Maithya Mutua (brother of victim Bernard Musembi Mutua) Kenya, Maria Otilia Tayob, Anabela Tayob, Beatriz C. Campos, Marco C. Campos, Mario Jorge Rassul, Adalzija Rassul Tayob, Rui Carlos Rassul Tayob, Natacha Tayob Rassul (mother, widow, mother in law, son and siblings of victim Marcelino Tayob) Mozambique, Pawel Konarski (husband to victim Stella Konarska and father of victim Adam Konarski) Poland, and Kenya, Jane Waithaka, Joshua, Ben and Zipporah Kuria (family of victim Joseph Waithaka) UK, Adrian Toole (father of victim Joanna Toole) UK, Feisal Hussein Swaleh (family of victim Hussein Swaleh M’tetu) Kenya.
For further information or to speak to Robert A. Clifford, Frank Pitre at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy or the family members, please contact Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 (cell) at Clifford Law Offices or Alison Cordova at 425-772-7404 (cell) at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy.