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A law firm representing the families of passengers killed in Boeing 737 MAX accidents has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) calling for criminal prosecution of former Boeing executives; and $24 billion in fines. The letter cites a statement from Texas judge Reed O’Connor, a district court judge involved in the case, that referred to Boeing’s handling of the situation as “the deadliest corporate crime in U.S. history.”

The 32-page letter was sent by Professor Paul Cassell of the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The announcement from Cassell’s office today (June 19) maintains that the January 2021 deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) between the DOJ and Boeing mandated that the manufacturer improve safety and compliance in aircraft production. “But in April of this year [2024],” Cassell’s office wrote, “the Department concluded that Boeing had breached its safety and compliance obligations under the DPA. The Department has asked the families how the Department should proceed with the case against Boeing.”

The letter suggests suspending part of the fine on the condition that those funds be dedicated to “corporate compliance and new safety measures.” In addition, the letter recommends that the DOJ asks Judge O’Connor to appoint a corporate monitor the review the safety measures, “and to direct improvement as appropriate.” The letter did not specify how much of the $24 billion fine should be distributed to Cassell’s clients.

Further, the letter asks the DOJ to prosecute Dennis Meilenburg, who was Boeing’s CEO at the time of the accidents – as well as other “responsible corporate executives” – for their personal contributions to hiding 737 MAX safety problems from the FAA.

Cassell wrote, “It would almost be morally reprehensible if the criminal justice system was incapable of capturing the enormous human costs of Boeing’s crime.”

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