The District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has dismissed fraud allegations filed against Boeing by lessor Timaero Ireland over the B737 MAX, while the breach of contract case has now been transferred to a Washington court.

Chief Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer underlined that, contrary to the Irish lessor's claims, Boeing did not act fraudulently in selling B737 MAX aircraft that later required grounding, recertification, and modifications. Timaero maintained that the manufacturer never intended to deliver aircraft according to its initial specifications and knew that it would be impossible to achieve the promised specifications and delivery timeline.

"All of Boeing's allegedly fraudulent statements were promises about a future machine rather than descriptions of an existing machine of known characteristics. Such promises about future machines are not similarly considered representations of material fact," Pallmeyer ruled.

Boeing had argued that its failure to deliver the aircraft on time could have at most been a breach of contract but was not fraudulent and ill-intentioned. While Timaero also brought breach of contract charges, they were transferred to a Washington court in a move expected to delay the final ruling significantly.

The lessor is seeking at least USD185 million in damages from the manufacturer.

Timaero Ireland is a subsidiary of Russia's VEB-Leasing. It ordered twenty B737-8s in 2014 with deliveries initially scheduled by the end of 2018. In 2016, it increased the order by an additional two units. According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, it currently has twenty B737-8s on firm order from Boeing, including two units assigned to NordStar (Y7, Norilsk) and 18 with no disclosed future operators. It also has twenty A320-200Ns on order and owns two B737-800s placed with Ruili Airlines.

Boeing declined to comment on the matter, while Timaero Ireland did not respond to ch-aviation's request for comment.