_ET 302 Final Packet




March 11, 2019

To Victim Families and Loved Ones:


We have heartfelt sympathy for all victims of the horrific crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on March 10, 2019.  Having spent literally decades representing victims of air crash cases, we know the sense of sorrow, shock and trauma you’re experiencing.  You have our sincere condolences.

Many victims of air disasters and members of their families need advice concerning their legal rights and how they should go about enforcing them.  At the outset, you should understand that there are many complex issues presented by a particular case.  Books have been written on these subjects.  It is impossible to provide a complete explanation in just a few pages.

Further, the answers to some questions are a matter of opinion and subject to much argument.  Finally, at the beginning of any given case we obviously do not have available a large portion of the evidence that will we will have once our investigation is complete.  Without this evidence, we can only make educated guesses as to the answer to many of the questions.  With this understanding, we will do our best to provide you with a meaningful summary of the general issues involved in air crash cases.

Herrmann Law Group has been representing victims of major air crashes for literally decades.  No law firm can match our proven track record in representing victims in major disaster cases. You need the right professional lawyers on your side to receive the just compensation you deserve. See our record on our website at: www.hlg.lawyer .

Most Important. This is a complicated case. Many of its aspects are discussed in what follows.  However, experience has taught us that victims should be apprised of four (4) things immediately, otherwise their legal claims for compensation can suffer irreversible damage.  They are:

  1. First, do not discuss your case with representatives of Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines, government agencies, insurers or anyone else other than your family, your doctors, or your lawyers. People working for Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines, and other potential defendants may seem sympathetic and helpful, but their goal is to protect their employers and to help settle your claim as cheaply as possible;
  2. Start a diary/journal in which you record all your suffering—both physical and emotional—daily. Preserve all financial records including income, taxes, business/corporate records, bank account, and budgets. Further, keep records of all medical treatment and all expenses;
  3. Seek out psychological/grief counseling. Not only can it be vital for your mental health, but it will also document your suffering, which will help prove the extent of your damages when the time comes; and,
  4. All victims need legal advice from lawyers not only skilled in these complicated aviation disaster cases, but also experienced in representing victims and their families in U.S. and International courts. They must be aware of the cultural differences to be effective. The sooner your lawyers start work on your behalf, the more successful they will be.

Facts: The Cause of This Accident.

It is too soon to reach conclusions as what caused this accident.  While many pertinent facts are already known, the painstaking investigation already in progress will most likely take, at a minimum, several months to complete.  At this point, we can only make educated guesses as to causes.

First, the Boeing 737-8 MAX had flown into Addis Ababa Sunday morning from Johannesburg on Flight ET858. The deadly crash occurred at 8:44 am local time, a mere 6 minutes after takeoff near the town of Bishoftu, about 35 miles southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The flight was departing from Bole International Airport in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa and headed to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. Sadly, all 157 passengers and crew members perished in the crash.  The victims are from 32 nationalities including Ethiopia, Kenya, Canada, China, USA and others.

According to data from FlightRadar24, the flight took off in good weather. However, the vertical speed of the flight was unstable almost immediately after takeoff. In the first three minutes of the flight, the vertical speed varied from 0 feet per minute to 1,472 to minus 1,920 – unusual during ascent. “During takeoff, one would expect sustained positive vertical speed indications,” said Ian Petchenik, a spokesman for FlightRadar24.

According to the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde Gebre Mariam, the pilot reported technical difficulties and asked for clearance to return to Addis Ababa which was granted.

Ethiopian Airlines has identified the pilot as Yared Getachew. The pilot had flown more than 8,000 hours. He had an “excellent flying record,” according to Gebre Mariam. However, it is not yet known how much experience he had flying the new Boeing 737-8 MAX. Additionally, the demands on the pilot were likely made more complicated as the plane experienced technical difficulties as the co-pilot was rookie with a mere 200 hours of experience, an unusually low number.

Ethiopian Airlines has ordered 30 Boeing 737-8 MAX jets, with the first being delivered last year. Currently, the airline has five of the modles in its fleet, according to FlightRadar24. It is known that this specific plane was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in November 15-17, 2018. The first commercial flight of this specific plane was November 17, 2018.

The National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) is sending a team to assist in the investigation of the Ethiopian Airlines crash. Boeing also said it will travel to the site where its Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft crashed in Ethiopia. “Boeing’s technical team will be traveling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopian Accident Investigations Bureau and the US National Transportation Safety Board,” the company said.

Although more investigation will be needed, it is important to note that there are striking similarities between this crash and the crash involving Lion Air Flight JT610 which occurred on October 29, 2018, killing all 189 people on board.

  1. Same model of airplane. Both crashes involved Boeing’s new model of 737 – the Boeing 737-8 MAX. One significant modification of the new model of 737 was the inclusion of more powerful engines with larger turbofans that required the engines to be moved further forward with a longer nose gear strut to accommodate these bigger engines. This alteration of the plane’s center of gravity had a longitudinal destabilizing effect on the aircraft. To compensate for this increase in instability, Boeing designed an entirely new program termed Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). This program was fed information from the planes angle of attack (AoA) sensors. When the angle reads too high, risking a stall, the MCAS – uncommanded – automatically kicks in, utilizing the stabilizers to force the nose of the plane downward. Further investigation will be required to determine if this modification to Boeing 737-8 Max played a role in this crash involving Ethiopian Airlines. However, recovery of the Flight Data Recorder (black box), in the coming weeks will reveal significant data and any further similarities.
  1. Similar time frame from delivery to crash. The Boeing 737-8 MAX involved in the crash of Lion Air Flight JT610 was delivered to the airline on August 15, 2018. A mere 2 ½ months later, the plane crashed into the Java Sea. This fact pattern is eerily paralleled in this case. The Boeing 737-8 MAX involved in the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 was delivered to the airline about November 16, 2018, only 3½ months prior to the Ethiopian deadly crash.
  1. Irregularities in flight patterns after takeoff. In both cases, the crew requested permission to return to the airport a few moments after takeoff. In the Lion Air flight, the pilots radioed a “flight control” problem, while the Ethiopian pilot reported “technical difficulties.”

All these questions need to be investigated thoroughly. We always examine the airlines, its crew, maintenance and management.  Then, the the aircraft and its subcomponents – especially those parts supplying power, stability, and navigation. We also look at those involved in training, warnings, and instruction. In this case, they are Ethiopian Airlines, Boeing, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Finally, usually there are multiple errors that tragically come together simultaneously to cause most air crashes.  Often it is not just a single cause.

Law: Claims for Compensation.

Fortunately for nearly all passengers, all countries of their citizenship, the home of Ethiopian Airlines, Boeing, and the U.S. Government are signatories to the more modern international treaty “Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air” (Montreal 1999). Ethiopia, Kenya, China, Indonesia, and the United States, amongst others, have all signed Montreal 1999.

Strict Liability: Montreal 1999 provides that each passenger will receive $157,638.78 USD from Ethiopian Airlines without any proof of fault on anyone’s part. All that needs be established is that the victim was a fare paying passenger who died while onboard an international flight.

Fault: However, unless Ethiopian Airlines can affirmatively prove it was fault free, it must pay all the victim’s damages, no matter how large they may be. It is the airlines burden of proof to establish they did nothing wrong whatsoever.

Jurisdiction: Montreal 1999 further controls where, in what country, they may bring a lawsuit to receive their compensation from Ethiopian Airlines. They are in plain language:

  1. Country of Registration of the Airlines – Ethiopia;
  2. Principal place of business of the airlines – Ethiopia;
  3. Country in which the ticket was purchased;
  4. Country of the final destination on the ticket; and,
  5. Country in which the passenger principally & permanently resides.

Note: The country where the accident occurred – Ethiopia – is one of the listed countries. For instance, a passenger living in China who bought his/her ticket in China, which was round trip back to China (final destination on ticket), would have two choices as to where to bring a lawsuit against Ethiopian Airlines: China or Ethiopia.  Not the USA.

Likewise, a passenger living in Ethiopia who bought his/her ticket in Ethiopia, which was round trip back to Ethiopia (final destination on ticket), would have only one choice as to where to bring a lawsuit against Ethiopian Airlines: Ethiopia, again not the USA.

However, those passengers who were regularly living in the USA, bought their ticket in the USA, or whose final destination on their ticket was back to the USA can all present a claim against Ethiopian Airlines in the courts of the USA.

However, Montreal 1999 does NOT control claims against Boeing or the FAA. Lawsuits against either of these two potential defendants can be brought in the USA.

All victims should realize that standards for amounts of compensation in U.S. courts have historically been far higher than in the courts of other international jurisdictions, including Ethiopia. It is a great advantage to litigate your case in the USA.

Amount of Compensation.  Issues of the amount of compensation are unique to each individual victim. The loss of a loved one is immeasurable.  The loss of love, companionship, and guidance as well as support and all other financial losses can amount to substantial sums of money depending upon family relationships, age of the victim, actual and potential earnings.  Claims are primarily based upon the victim’s family and financial situation. The pre-death terror they felt as the plane fell out of the sky is also taken into consideration. We thoroughly develop and professionally present all aspects of our clients’ cases. Only then can we advise you as to our professional evaluation of your individual claim.

In the past on other cases we’ve recovered compensation often for as much as several millions of dollars in wrongful death cases.  You may want to look at our record as to amounts we have recovered in the past. See our record following this letter or on our website at: www.hlg.lawyer . However, we want to be clear that past results do not guarantee any particular future recovery for different victims in a different accident.

We invite all passengers to contact us for a totally free, personal, and private consultation.

Charles Herrmann at cell: 206.488.5911 / charles@hlg.lawyer
Lara Herrmann at cell: 253.380.5272 / lara@hlg.lawyer
Chinese may contact Holly Li at cell: 206.369.8373/hlg.lawyer
Or any of our 5 attorneys at either of our two offices.
Seattle Office:  206.625.9104
Tacoma Office: 253.627.8142

Herrmann Law Group

Charles Herrmann
Attorney at Law
Direct: 206.488.5911
Email: charles@hlg.lawyer
Website: www.hlg.lawyer







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