Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has captured the world’s undivided attention. Beijing’s Lido Hotel, where friends and relatives of missing passengers have gathered, has become a hotbed of media activity. The hotel has also begun to draw lawyers interested in pitching lawsuits. Monica R. Kelly and her law firm, Ribbeck Law, believe that settlement payouts are nearly in sight for friends and relatives of passengers from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Kelly and her firm of expert crash lawyers have begun parading around the hallways of the Lido Hotel pitching lawsuit ideas at prospective clients.
Kelly believes that a United States court could possibly award millions of dollars to each passenger involved in the lawsuit, and that the Boeing Company could be held liable for having manufactured the missing 777-200 jet plane.
Kelly takes potential clients to her room at the hotel. She then shows them a small model of the Boeing 777-200, and she uses it to demonstrate her theories about how the plane may have malfunctioned.
She is definitely determined to win in a case against Boeing. Kelly says, “It’s not an issue of whether families will be compensated. It’s a question of how much and when.” When pressed about the particulars of the case, she does admit that it is a case unlike any she has seen before. Nevertheless, Kelly fully believes that settlement payouts for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are already in sight.
Some insurance companies have made a few initial payments to relatives. Additional payments should be released from the airline due to international treaty laws, and may range from $150,000 to $200,000. The option to sue the airline directly is open, but Kelly has Boeing in her sights.
Some friends and relatives at the Lido Hotel do not appreciate Kelly’s presence and persistence. Wang Le, whose mother is one of the missing passengers from Flight 370, said that he is only beginning to cope with the loss of his mother. “It’s not the time for compensation yet,” Le says.
Mike Danko, of the aviation firm Danko Meredith, says that the awards could be as high as $6 to $8 million in the case of Flight 370. However, the current lack of information could grind legal processes to a halt. Additionally, these lawsuits will involve different countries, slowing the processes down even further.
Information concerning Flight 370 is not very forthcoming. None of the searches have been successful thus far. CBS News is currently saying that the search could go on and on with no real answers. The search area keeps shifting, and is currently an 85,000-square-mile area of sea west of Perth.
Many authorities are also realizing that the plane could very well have sunk completely beneath the ocean, which would make it nearly impossible to locate any time soon. Difficulty in locating the plane could render settlement payouts out of sight, and cause lawsuits concerning Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to drag on for a long time. Authorities claim that they are doing all that they can, but very little information has surfaced since the plane went missing.
By Luke Sargent