Family of Ralph Nader’s Niece, Killed in Crash, Plans to Sue Boeing

The family of a woman killed in an Ethiopian Airlines accident last month plans to file a wrongful-death lawsuit against the airline, the aircraft manufacturer and the parts supplier linked to the crash that left 157 people dead.

The woman, Samya Rose Stumo, 24, was a niece of Ralph Nader, the consumer rights advocate and past presidential candidate. Lawyers representing the family said in a statement that they planned to file the suit on Thursday morning in Federal District Court in Chicago.

A number of other families are pursuing litigation against Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines and Rosemount Aerospace, the manufacturer said to be responsible for an aircraft part that may have played a role in the crash. In March, relatives of passengers on a Lion Air flight that crashed in October in Indonesia minutes after taking off also filed suit against Boeing; 189 people died in that accident. Both planes were Boeing 737 Max jets, which have since been grounded around the world.

[Here’s what you need to know about the deadly Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes, and what Boeing has been doing since.]

Boeing has scrambled to contain the fallout from the crashes and show it is taking measures to ensure passengers’ safety.

In developing the Max, Boeing designed new types of engines to increase fuel efficiency for the aircraft. But to compensate for a change in aerodynamics, the company installed an automated anti-stall system that pushed the plane’s nose down in some instances to stabilize the aircraft. That system, known as MCAS, is believed to have played a role in the crashes. Investigations into both accidents are continuing and no final determinations have been made.

On Wednesday, Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s chief executive, joined test pilots on board one of the company’s 737 Max 7 jets to demonstrate updated software for the MCAS system.

“The software update worked as designed, and the pilots landed safely at Boeing Field,” said Gordon Johndroe, vice president for communications at Boeing. “Safety is our first priority, and we will take a thorough and disciplined approach to the development and testing of the update to ensure we take the time to get it right.”

Also on Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration said it was establishing a review of the certification of the 737 Max’s automated flight control system that will include experts from the F.A.A., NASA and international regulators. The F.A.A. said the review would be led by Christopher A. Hart, a former National Transportation Safety Board chairman and F.A.A. official.

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