Chicago firm moves toward suit over Malaysia plane

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Associated Press

Posted on March 26, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 27 at 12:01 AM

CHICAGO (AP) — Court documents that often precede a lawsuit have been filed by a U.S. law firm on behalf of a relative of a passenger on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

The filing in Chicago asks a judge to order Malaysia Airlines and Chicago-based Boeing Co. to turn over documents related to the possible "negligence" caused the Boeing 777 to crash, including any documentation about the chances of "fatal depressurization" in the cockpit.

"Additional pleadings will be filed in the next few days against other potential defendants who are designers and manufacturers of the component parts that may have failed in the aircraft," Chicago-based Ribbeck Law Chartered attorney Monica Kelly said in a statement. The documents filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court seek to preserve evidence.

They were filed on behalf of Januari Siregar, who the law firm says is a relative of Indonesian-born passenger Firman Chandra Siregar. The filings were not clear about their exact relationship.

Kelly said lawyers are asking a judge to order Boeing to provide the names of companies that manufactured the locator beacon, the electric components, batteries and fire alarm systems, the emergency oxygen generators and those who last inspected the aircraft's fuselage. The law firm is also seeking from Malaysian Airlines the identities of people with information about the training of the crew; their physical and psychological evaluations; and the security practices of the airline.

Boeing spokesman John Dern declined comment. Phone and email messages were left for airline officials Wednesday.

In its corporate self-portrait, Ribbeck Law boasts of its success at obtaining compensation for the families of victims of aviation disasters. The National Transportation Safety Board complained after the crash landing of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco last year that some attorneys may have violated a U.S. law barring uninvited solicitation of air disaster victims in the first 45 days after an accident.

The NTSB pointed specifically at Ribbeck Law, reporting the firm to Illinois' Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. It was unclear Wednesday if the agency took any action on the complaint.

At the time, Kelly said the firm legally and ethically obtained its clients related to the crash and that all initiated contact with the firm, which is representing 83 passengers of the Asiana flight.

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