Boeing hired the lawyer who managed funds for 9/11, Boston Marathon bombing, and BP oil spill victims to distribute $50 million to 737 Max crash families

  • Boeing hired the lawyer who distributed funds to victims of the 9/11 terror attacks and Boston Marathon bombings to manage the $US50 million it is giving to the families of people killed on its two crashed 737 Max planes.
  • Kenneth Feinberg has worked on some of the most high-profile compensation programs in the US, including those created after the BP oil spill and cases of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.
  • The $US50 million is the “initial expenditure” from the $US100 million Boeing says it will spend on affected families – though a lawyer for multiple families said the fund doesn’t address their problems.
  • Many of the families around the world are suing Boeing, a move that the company says does not exclude them from accessing the fund.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Boeing has hired the lawyer who managed payments to victims after the 9/11 terror attacks, Boston Marathon bombings, and BP oil spill to distribute the $US50 million it is giving to the relatives of those killed in the two crashes of its 737 Max planes.

Boeing has hired Kenneth Feinberg to design and administer the fund, which Boeing says will be used to provide “near-term financial assistance” to the families of the 346 victims.

Feinberg has worked on some of the most high-profile compensation programs in the US, including managing the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund after the 9/11 terror attacks, and distributing the fund for victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three people, to 256 claimants.

Kenneth FeinbergAlex Wong/Getty ImagesKenneth Feinberg testifies on Capitol Hill about General Motors in 2014.

Feinberg was also hired by the Obama administration in 2010 to administer compensation to those affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in which a BP oil well exploded. The disaster killed 11 people, while also creating one of the largest environmental disasters in US history.


Read more:
Boeing just announced $US100 million for families of 737 Max crash victims. It likely won’t be enough.

Feinberg will work with his colleague Camille Biros, who worked with Feinberg in determining compensation for victims of sex abuse by Catholic clergy in the US.

Biros said on Wednesday that the pair will “work to design and administer the fund and distribute the money as efficiently and expeditiously as possible” for the families.

The $US50 million pledged by Boeing is the “initial expenditure” of the $US100 million that it announced it would spend to “address family and community needs of those affected by the tragic accidents.”


Read more:
Here are all the investigations and lawsuits that Boeing and the FAA are facing after the 737 Max crashes killed almost 350 people

It said that an investment would be made over “multiple years” in the “education, hardship and living expenses for impacted families, community programs, and economic development in impacted communities.”

Boeing said it would work with local governments and non-profits when spending the fund.

The two crashes, a Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines crash in Ethiopia in March 2019, have victims from all over the world, and many of their families are suing Boeing over the crashes.

Lawyers representing these families previously told Business Insider that many of those killed were the families’ breadwinners, and that their deaths will likely have serious financial impacts on the families.

Boeing 737 Max  Michael Stumo Nadia MilleronMark Wilson/Getty ImagesMichael Stumo and Nadia Milleron, parents of Samya Rose Stumo, who was killed in the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max crash, listen as the a House committee holds a hearing on the 737 Max in June 2019.

Boeing said on Wednesday that the fund would not be affected by these lawsuits, which means families can still get the money if they are sueing Boeing.

However, Robert Clifford, a lawyer representing the families of 23 victims on the Ethiopian Airlines crash, told Business Insider after the fund was announced that the families he had spoken with did not welcome it.

“At best it’s a gesture, at worst it’s a token effort to address problems that aren’t foremost on the minds of these families,” he said.

“What’s foremost on their minds is getting back remains from the crash site, so they can hold memorials and get some closure – why isn’t Boeing putting that money towards speeding up the process?”


Read more:
Behind Boeing’s offer to settle with victims’ families in a 737 Max crash is a hardball legal strategy that could leave them with nothing

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said on Wednesday: “The tragic loss of life in both accidents continues to weigh heavily on all of us at Boeing, and we have the utmost sympathy for the loved ones of those on board.”

“Through our partnership with Feinberg and Biros, we hope affected families receive needed assistance as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Boeing is currently in talks with lawyers to settle the cases out of court, though Business Insider previously reported that Boeing indicated that it will seek to move the cases out of the US if these talks fail, which could drive families to settle for less.

The legal system in Indonesia and Ethiopia is much less favourable in terms of awarding compensation, experts told Business Insider, and families may wish to take less money for fear of receiving none.

This would mean that there is less scrutiny on Boeing and into how the planes were made.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.