US law firm launches legal action over MH370
By Julia Zappei, AFP
March 27, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
KUALA LUMPUR -- A U.S. law firm said Wednesday it has initiated what it called the first civil legal proceedings over the crash of flight MH370 and said it planned to pursue lawsuits seeking "millions of dollars" for aggrieved families.
Chicago-based Ribbeck Law Chartered International said it filed a court petition in the U.S. state of Illinois targeting Malaysia Airlines and Boeing, blaming the two companies for the "disaster."
"We are going to be filing the lawsuits for millions of dollars per each passenger based on prior cases that we have done involving crashes like this one," the firm's head of aviation litigation, Monica Kelly, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
The development appeared to mark the start of what legal experts have warned could be a cascade of lawsuits by passengers' relatives livid over the unexplained disappearance of their loved ones.
The plane carried 239 passengers and crew.
Kelly said her firm was also talking to "several" other relatives in China and Malaysia about taking similar action on their behalf.
Ribbeck issued a statement earlier Wednesday saying it had filed a "petition of discovery" in Illinois requesting a court to order defendants to provide potential evidence and other information.
Malaysia Airlines, Boeing Blamed
In particular, the documents being sought pertain to possible design or mechanical defects or conduct by the airline that may have led to the disaster, it said.
"We believe that both defendants named are responsible for the disaster of Flight MH370," the statement said.
The legal action was filed on behalf of Januari Siregar, an Indonesian lawyer and father of Firman Siregar, 25, who was on the flight.
"It is extremely important for the victims we represent that all responsible parties are brought to justice without exceptions," it said.