April 07, 2020 Articles

Federal Court Dismisses State Law Claims Alleging Conspiracy Between Boeing and Southwest

Passengers bringing the claims asserted that Boeing’s and Southwest’s misrepresentations and omissions concerning the safety of the 737 MAX enabled Southwest to overcharge for tickets.

By Evan Kwarta

Of the many current lawsuits against Boeing arising from the 737 MAX crisis, perhaps one of the more interesting ones was brought by Southwest Airlines passengers against Southwest and Boeing alleging that they were overcharged at the moment they purchased tickets for travel aboard Southwest’s 737 MAX aircraft. Earl v. Boeing Co. & Sw. Airlines Co., No. 4:19-cv-00507-ALM (E.D. Tex. Feb. 14, 2020), ECF No. 56. These passengers, who brought putative class action claims, alleged that the 737 MAX was fatally defective and that they never would have purchased their tickets on Southwest’s 737 MAX aircraft had they known of the defects. The passengers also asserted that Boeing’s and Southwest’s misrepresentations and omissions concerning the safety of the 737 MAX enabled Southwest to overcharge for tickets. The plaintiffs brought causes of action against both defendants for, broadly speaking, (1) violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, (2) concealment and misrepresentation, (3) unjust enrichment, and (4) negligence. Other than the RICO Act claims, the plaintiffs’ claims were asserted under state law.

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