Boeing facing 'potentially grave' legal liabilities: Judge Napolitano

Boeing said Sunday that it knew about the problems with the 737 Max for a year before the deadly Lion Air crash, before telling the Federal Aviation Association and airlines. Their problems are “quite serious,” according to Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.

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“Their problems are potentially grave both with respect to civil liability and criminal law,” said Judge Napolitano during an appearance on FOX Business’ “Mornings with Maria” on Monday.

“We'll start with civil,” he added. “[Although] the Warsaw Convention caps the maximum amount of financial damages that an airline or its carrier has to pay to an injured innocent passenger, lawyers for the passengers could argue that the caps should be removed because of deception on the part of Boeing.”

Under U.S. law, according to Judge Napolitano, federal prosecutors have the ability to also potentially launch a criminal investigation.

“But the real problem, and I'm sorry to use this phrase, is criminally negligent homicide. There is a potential for prosecutors to make that claim,” he said. “The failure to comply with a legal obligation to inform the carrier, the airline, of a defect in the software when that failure arguably resulted in death is the definition of criminally negligent homicide.”

The Boeing 737 Max is among the most widely used planes across the world because of its ability to provide a sizable amount of fuel savings. It is also the fastest-selling aircraft in Boeing's history, with more than 5,100 orders.

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Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg addressed safety concerns on the new fleet following the fatal Lion Air crash. He said that although planes were “safe,” there was an update that the pilots needed to be aware of.

“The bottom line here is the 737 Max is safe and safety is a core value for us,” he said exclusively to Bartiromo in November. “We ensure that airplanes are safe.”