A Malaysia Airlines flag flies at Kuala Lumpur
International Airport in Sepang. REUTERS/Samsul Said
A Chicago law firm is preparing for what could be a
multimillion-dollar lawsuit following the Malaysia Airlines
Ribbeck Law Chartered International - described on their
website as 'recognised leaders in global aviation accident
litigation' - have filed a court petition seeking documents
related to the possible design or mechanical flaws or conduct
that could have lead to the demise of flight MH370.
An attorney for the firm, Monica Kelly, told Newstalk ZB from
Beijing today that any potential lawsuits would be filed
individually, not as a class action.
"But eventually they're going to be consolidated before the
same judge, so there's going to be only one judge hearing the
cases on behalf of all our clients."
The judge is located in Chicago and the case had been filed
in Illinois, Ms Kelly said. "We are bringing this litigation
to the USA."
They were expecting to represent over 50 per cent of those on
board MH370, she said. "In the past, we've represented even
closer to 100 per cent."
The lawsuit would be filed against the aircraft's
manufacturer Boeing, and not Malaysia Airlines, as the law
firm believed the cause of the crash was mechanical and
"We do not believe that the plane was hijacked and we do not
believe that the pilot or co-pilot crashed the plane
The FAA had previously identified problems with corrosion and
the fuselage in the Boeing 777 fleet, Ms Kelly said.
"So what we think happened is either the cockpit had some
problems with the electric system - maybe an electric fire -
or maybe there was a sudden loss of cabin pressure and that
the pilot and the co-pilot became unconscious and for several
hours it was a ghost plane and it crashed after it ran out of
The firm would withdraw the case if it became clear that the
cause of the aircraft's disappearance was due to a hijacking,
"But we do not believe that is the case because we have
similar cases in the past where, at the beginning, the
investigators [thought] that it was a hijacking or that it
was pilot suicide and it turned out that it was not."
Malaysia Airlines took out a full-page advertisement with
white type on a black background in today's NZ Herald
expressing their "deepest condolences" over the flight's
"We are all deeply saddened by the news of MH370. Our
sincerest condolences go out to the loved ones of the 239
passengers, friends and colleagues.
"Words alone cannot express out enormous sorrow and pain.
They have left us too soon, but they will never be forgotten.
"They will remain forever in our thoughts and prayers."
- Brendan Manning of APNZ