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Lead Counsel for Families in Second Boeing 737 MAX Crash Reacts to Indictment of Former Boeing Safety Engineer

“The indictment of Boeing’s former chief pilot for deceiving federal authorities about the 737 MAX is a corporate whitewash,” said Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago and Lead Counsel in the consolidated litigation against Boeing in the crash of a 737 MAX in Ethiopia in 2019. “The tragic loss of 157 lives could have been prevented had Mark Forkner spoken up but he certainly didn’t act alone.”

Clifford refers to October 14’s indictment that was handed down by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) against the 49-year-old Forkner who is charged with deceiving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in its approval of a defective aircraft that led to two crashes within five months, killing 346 people.

“This inexcusable type of corporate greed goes far beyond the chief pilot at the company that haphazardly made these aircraft in an effort to increase profits,” Clifford said. “As Lead Counsel in the litigation against Boeing and speaking on behalf of so many families who will never be the same, I implore the DOJ to go further in its criminal investigation and indictments to determine just how far the deception went and who was at the bottom of it all. I think they will find many corporate officials took part in withholding critical information from the certifying agency. A deep-dive criminal investigation is owed to these families who gave the ultimate sacrifice and to the flying public that continues to buy tickets on the MAX aircraft.”

Forkner, who led the 737 MAX Flight Technical Team during its rushed development into service, reportedly was charged with two counts of fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce and four counts of wire fraud.  He is due to appear Friday in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas. The charges carry a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

“Even if given the maximum prison sentence, that is nothing compared to those families who will never see their loved ones again. They are gone, gone because Forkner was part of a scheme to hide the truth from those who had the ability to make these planes safe,” Clifford said. “And what was Boeing’s initial reaction to these crashes despite knowing they had cut corners? Boeing executives chose to blame the innocent pilots who were told nothing about the new software system that completely changed the way the aircraft behaved, nor did the pilot training manuals even mention the new software system.”

Clifford refers to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that Forkner allegedly did not share with FAA officials before they approved the aircraft as safe to fly. “The flying public still isn’t certain whether Boeing has changed its ways and is operating with full transparency in allowing this plane and future aircraft to fly,” Clifford said.

To speak to Lead Counsel Robert A. Clifford, contact Clifford Law Offices Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909 (cell).

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