By Andrew Tangel

 

A federal judge said families of 737 MAX crash victims may have standing to challenge the Justice Department's $2.5 billion criminal settlement with Boeing Co. in the case.

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor ordered an evidentiary hearing on Aug. 8 in Fort Worth, Texas.

At issue is whether the families are, legally speaking, victims of the crimes in question and whether prosecutors were required under federal law to consult them before agreeing to the 2021 settlement with Boeing.

The Justice Department has said it didn't have a legal obligation to do so.

Boeing declined to comment.

Judge O'Connor, in his order issued Wednesday, said: "If movants can show that Boeing's conspiracy to defraud the FAA caused the plane crashes, then they can potentially show that they represent 'person[s] directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of a federal offense.'"

If the families succeed, it isn't clear what that could mean for Boeing's DOJ settlement.

 

Write to Andrew Tangel at andrew.tangel@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 27, 2022 21:19 ET (01:19 GMT)

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