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Passengers File $1 Billion Lawsuit Against Boeing After Door Blew Off Alaska Airlines Flight

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Mia taylor

by Mia Taylor
Last updated: 12:55 PM ET, Mon March 4, 2024

A trio of passengers who were onboard the Alaska Airlines flight that lost a door plug after take-off are suing plane manufacturer Boeing for negligence.

The $1 billion lawsuit was filed on February 20 in Multnomah County, Oregon, according to a press release issued by the passenger’s lawyers. The plaintiffs are Kyle Rinker, Amanda Strickland, and Kevin Kwok.

Rinker, Strickland, and Kwok are seeking both compensatory and punitive damages from Boeing, which manufactures the 737 MAX 9 jet that was involved in the incident.

“As a direct result of the frightful, death-threatening failure of the Boeing aircraft, Mr. Kwok, Mr. Rinker, and Ms. Strickland suffered severe mental, emotional, and psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress, and physical injuries,” the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs are being represented by Jonathan W. Johnson, LLC, an Atlanta-based aviation firm.

Alaska Flight 1282 departed from Portland, Oregon, on January 5 for a journey to Ontario, California, with six crew members and 171 passengers onboard when the incident that is the subject of the lawsuit occurred.

Not long after takeoff, the plane’s pilots called for an emergency landing after the cabin became depressurized due to a door panel ripping off during the trip, leaving a large hole in the side of the aircraft.

Once the door panel blew off, oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling and passengers’ belongings  began flying out through the opening. A 15-year-old boy’s shirt was ripped off his body entirely.

Two of the passengers taking part in the lawsuit, Rinker and Strickland were sitting two rows diagonally behind the young boy who’s shirt was ripped off. The flight landed safely and there were no injuries.

In the wake of the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded Boeing 737-9 aircraft around the United States. In addition, the National Transportation Safety Board began an investigation of Boeing and its operations. Initial investigations of the incident found that bolts were missing from the door that blew off the Alaska Airlines plane.

Executives from multiple airlines have also come forward since the incident occurred saying that Boeing must be held accountable for the in-flight emergency. And a handful of carriers scrapped plans to include MAX planes in their 2024 line-ups, with airline leaders publicly stating that they’re exploring other options beyond MAX aircraft.

Boeing CEO, David Calhoun, meanwhile, has said that he was “shaken to the bone” after hearing about the voidable accident that put hundreds of innocent lives in danger.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say “further inspections should have been made before the aircraft was placed in service,” adding that the passengers are seeking “to hold Boeing accountable for its negligence which had caused extreme panic, fear, and post-traumatic stress.”

“This experience jeopardized the lives of the 174 passengers and 6 crew members that were on board,” says a statement issued by the passenger’s law firm. “For those reasons, the lawsuit seeks substantial punitive damages from Boeing for what was a preventable incident and because the defects in manufacturing impacted numerous other aircraft and threatened the lives of the passengers on all Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft, which were all grounded by the FAA following the incident.”

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