Judge Tosses Malaysia Plane Suit

Judge called the lawsuit filed by a Chicago firm improper

Tuesday, Apr 1, 2014  |  Updated 5:56 AM CDT
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A woman read message cards tied up for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, in a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 24, 2014. (AP Photo)

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A Chicago judge, Monday, tossed out the first court action filed in regards to the Malaysia Airlines flight that may have crashed in the ocean. 

The judge tossed out the filing against Malaysia Airlines and Chicago-based Boeing Co., calling it improper. 
 
Judge Kathy Flanagan admonished the law firm, Ribbeck Law Chartered, for filing documents before any solid evidence had been collected. Crews continue to search for pieces of the missing plane, but have not recovered any items since it disappeared on March 8. 
 
Ribbeck Law Chartered filed similar paperwork after fatal crashes in San Francisco and Laos. Flanagan dismissed both of those filings as well.
"Despite these orders, the same law firm has proceeded, yet again, with the filing of the (Malaysia crash) petition, knowing full well there is no basis to do so," Flanagan wrote.
 
The petition was filed on behalf of Januari Siregar, who the law firm says is a relative of Indonesian-born passenger Firman Chandra Siregar. The filings were not clear about their exact relationship.
 
Kelly said lawyers are asking a judge to order Boeing to provide the names of companies that manufactured the locator beacon, the electric components, batteries and fire alarm systems, the emergency oxygen generators and those who last inspected the aircraft's fuselage. The law firm is also seeking from Malaysian Airlines the identities of people with information about the training of the crew; their physical and psychological evaluations; and the security practices of the airline.
 
Boeing spokesman John Dern declined comment. Phone and email messages were left for airline officials Wednesday.
 
In its corporate self-portrait, Ribbeck Law boasts of its success at obtaining compensation for the families of victims of aviation disasters. The National Transportation Safety Board complained after the crash landing of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco last year that some attorneys may have violated a U.S. law barring uninvited solicitation of air disaster victims in the first 45 days after an accident.
 
The NTSB pointed specifically at Ribbeck Law, reporting the firm to Illinois' Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. It was unclear Wednesday if the agency took any action on the complaint.
 
At the time, Kelly said the firm legally and ethically obtained its clients related to the crash and that all initiated contact with the firm, which is representing 83 passengers of the Asiana flight.

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