Boeing 737 Max Crash Victims’ Families Demand $25 Billion Fine For ‘Deadliest Corporate Crime In US History’

Photo: Andrew Harnik (Getty Images)
Photo: Andrew Harnik (Getty Images)

The families of those killed in the two Boeing 737 Max crashes demanded on Wednesday that the aircraft manufacturer face a $24.78 billion fine. The crashes that killed 346 people in 2018 and 2019 were tied to a faulty flight stabilization system. The Department of Justice shielded Boeing from criminal charges as part of a $2.5 billion settlement in 2021. All Boeing had to do was abide by the agreement’s terms for three years, which included setting up a compliance and ethics program.

In May, the DOJ stated that Boeing violated the agreement’s terms and would consider prosecuting the planemaker. The department believes that Boeing failed to properly implement a compliance and ethics program in light of the company’s ongoing quality control issues. Boeing disagrees. Paul Cassell, a lawyer representing 15 families, wants the company to face severe consequences for its actions and wrote in a letter to the DOJ:

“Because Boeing’s crime is the deadliest corporate crime in U.S. history, a maximum fine of more than $24 billion is legally justified and clearly appropriate.”


The families are willing to see up to $22 billion of the fine suspended “on the condition that Boeing devote those suspended funds to an independent corporate monitor and related improvements in compliance and safety,” Reuters reports. The scale of the potential penalty is truly unprecedented. For comparison, Volkswagen faced a $2.8 billion criminal penalty from the federal government in 2017 for Dieselgate.

During a Congressional hearing on Tuesday, outgoing Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun apologized to the victims’ relatives who were in attendance holding photos of the victims and signs. The DOJ has to decide by July 7 to restart its criminal case against Boeing.

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