Faced with lawsuits over a plane crash half a world away, Boeing is arguing it shouldn't have to defend itself in a courtroom a short walk from its corporate headquarters.
The world's largest plane maker has indicated in court filings that it's likely to request that cases on behalf of victims in the October crash of a 737 Max plane be moved from the federal courthouse in Chicago to Indonesia, where the plane went down and where most of the victims lived.
On Tuesday, a federal judge told the company it must make the request within 45 days, according to plaintiffs' lawyers.
They said Boeing — if it can shift the U.S. cases 10,000 miles away — would skirt responsibility and lessen its financial liability.
"They don't want them to have justice," said Steven Hart, a Chicago lawyer representing some of the plaintiffs from the Lion Air crash into the Java Sea on Oct. 29, killing all 189 people aboard.
Boeing said there's precedent for such cases to be heard in the country where the incident took place.
"The disputes relating to the Lion Air Flight JT 610 accident should be heard and resolved by the courts of the nation with the greatest interest in the matter," the company said when it disclosed its plan in a legal filing late last year. "That means the Indonesian courts, just as other cases arising out of Indonesian aviation accidents have been resolved by the Indonesian courts."
One of the lawyers representing Boeing, Bates McIntyre Larson, said she could not comment on pending litigation.