MH 370: “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate…..Litigate”

It was just reported that a lawsuit has been filed in Cook County Illinois against Boeing and Malaysia Airlines.  It was also reported that additional lawsuits may be filed in the same court, assuming the law firm gets more clients, against the same defendants.

I don’t know how to say it, other than “Shame!”

A massive search is still underway to locate any floating debris so the real search for the aircraft can begin.  Other than engaging in speculation, something I have previously decried, no one knows what happened.  There is not a hint of a problem with the Boeing 777 aircraft, one of the most technologically advanced airliners on the planet.

The flight crew has been all but convicted and the airline pilloried in the media.  That’s not to say there haven’t been missteps in the communication of facts.  But nothing, absolutely nothing, has been found to date indicating that anything the pilots did or didn’t do caused or contributed to this tragedy.  Maybe the investigation will result in a different conclusion, but not so far.

One could certainly conclude that the filing of lawsuits at this stage is to garner the media exposure that comes with being the first to file, the hope being that the publicity will result in a law firm getting more clients.

It’s one thing to engage in speculation in the media.  It’s quite another thing to utilize the court system when no one knows much more than the fact that the airplane is likely down in the water.

When The Family Assistance Act of 1996 was passed, the goal, among other things, was to stop the frenzy of solicitation being engaged in by plaintiffs lawyers after an aircraft accident.  The Act has been effective and no longer do injured passengers or families receive solicitations by overnight courier, videotapes extolling the virtue of the law firm, refrigerator magnets with the law firm contact information or, believe it or not, checks from the law firm, cashable upon signing the contingent fee agreement, representing an advance on a settlement or judgment.

It’s clear, however, that the filing of lawsuits has now become a means of solicitation.  Too many so called experts have already tried and condemned the flight crew and the airline.  I suppose the filing of a lawsuit against the airline and the manufacturer represents the next step in the speculation process.  Does the law firm know something that no one else knows about what happened?  For gosh sakes, as imperfect as it may be at this stage, let the investigation move forward.  There will be plenty of time to sue.  No one’s rights are going to be lost or compromised by waiting until there are facts.

At the risk of repeating myself about this latest development, “Shame!”

(Originally posted March 27, 2014)

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