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Federal Appeals Court Dismissed Civil RICO Claims Against Southwest And Boeing


According to a report from the Aero News Network, a federal appeals court has dismissed a civil RICO lawsuit against Southwest Airlines Boeing. The civil racketeering claim is related to a pair of international 737 Max-8 accidents that claimed hundreds of lives in 2018 and 2019. The civil RICO lawsuit was dismissed on the grounds that the plaintiffs did not claim sufficient injury-in-fact. In this article, our Miami RICO claims lawyers explain why the federal court dismissed the civil RICO lawsuit.

Background: Two Tragic 737 Max Accidents Claimed Many Lives in 2018 and 2019 

Boeing introduced the 737 Max as an upgrade on early models. In 2019, all 737 Max planes were grounded across the world. This followed two tragic international accidents which took many lives. In October of 2018, a 737 Max crashed in Indonesia. In March of 2019, another 737 Max plane crashed in Ethiopia. In large part, flaws related to the plane’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS)—computer technology—were blamed.

 Civil RICO Lawsuit Filed Against Southwest and Boeing Alleging Conspiracy

 Boeing was subject to many investigations related to the plane crashes. The company has thus far paid more than $2.5 billion in penalties and compensation. A civil RICO lawsuit was filed against Southwest Airlines and Boeing on the grounds that the companies engaged in a conspiracy to “dupe” customers into flying onboard aircrafts that they knew had a flawed design. A civil RICO lawsuit allows plaintiffs to hold defendants liable for damage caused by illicit racketeering activity.

 Lawsuit Dismissed for Lack of Injury-in-Fact 

Both Southwest Airlines and Boeing filed a motion to dismiss the civil RICO lawsuit. Upon review, the federal court ruled in their favor. Without actually getting to the deepest merits of the case, the court determined that the plaintiffs did not have standing to file a civil RICO claim. More specifically, the federal court emphasized a lack of injury-in-fact. None of the plaintiffs sustained any physical harm or economic injury as a result of flying with Southwest Airlines on a Boeing 737 max jet.

 A Civil RICO Lawsuit Will Almost Always Face a Motion to Dismiss 

Treble damages can be recovered in a civil RICO lawsuit. As such, a civil RICO claim can be a very powerful tool for justice for plaintiffs. However, proving civil RICO violation requires meeting highly specific legal requirements. It is not a catch-all “fraud” or “misconduct” statute. Quite the contrary, plaintiffs must prove actual harm sustained through a pattern of racketeering activity carried out as part of an enterprise. Most civil RICO lawsuits will face an immediate motion to dismiss. To succeed, a civil RICO claim must survive the initial motion to dismiss.

 Consult With Miami Civil Racketeering Attorney Today

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, we represent plaintiffs and defendants in civil racketeering cases. If you have any specific questions or concerns about a motion to dismiss in a civil RICO case, our legal team can help. Contact us now to arrange your fully private initial appointment. Our civil RICO lawyers handle cases throughout South Florida from our law offices in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Wellington.



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