Legal fallout for Boeing around its 2021 settlement of B737 MAX related fraud charges continues with the manufacturer scheduled for arraignment in a Texas court on January 26 to answer to relatives of those who died in two B737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 and who have been declared crime victims under the US Crime Victims' Rights Act.

The case is being heard in the District Court for the Northern District of Texas. It is being handled by the US Department of Justice's (DOJ) criminal division/fraud section, and the US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas. The crash victims' beneficiaries are represented by attorney Paul Cassell, who wants the court to rescind Boeing's current immunity from prosecution.

In January 2021, Boeing agreed with the DOJ to resolve a criminal charge related to a conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration's Aircraft Evaluation Group (FAA AEG) in connection with the FAA AEG's evaluation of B737 MAX. Under the terms of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA), Boeing agreed to pay over USD2.5 billion - including a criminal monetary penalty of USD243.6 million, compensation payments of USD1.77 billion to Boeing's B737 MAX airline customers, and the establishment of a USD500 million fund to compensate the relatives of 346 passengers who died in the B737 MAX crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 in 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in 2019.

In October 2022, the District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued an order holding that more than a dozen family members of those who died in the two crashes were directly harmed by Boeing's conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Meanwhile, LOT Polish Airlines (LO, Warsaw Chopin) and Smartwings (Prague Václav Havel) are also challenging the DPA, arguing that Boeing has not correctly reimbursed them for damages they suffered from the almost two-year grounding of the B737 MAX following the crashes.

As reported, the DOJ late last year denied LOT Polish Airlines the status of a 'crime victim' on par with the relatives and beneficiaries of the crash victims. LOT has long claimed that its compensation for the B737 MAX grounding was too low and that the USD2.5 billion DPA only covered US carriers.

Still, on September 30, 2022, the US District Court for the Western District of Washington issued an order denying Boeing's motion to dismiss LOT Polish Airlines' fraud and misrepresentation claims arising from the B737 MAX grounding, said US law firm Condon & Forsyth on its Condonlaw blog. The decision was significant as it allows LOT's tort claims to proceed and provides a roadmap to other potential litigants seeking to recover damages from Boeing," the legal firm said.

Smartwings alleges that Boeing has been secretive about the airline fund, "and the few details that have leaked out have suggested that Boeing is not administering it fairly," the airline wrote in a November court filing, reported Flightglobal. The Czech airline is pursuing a lawsuit against Boeing in the US District Court, Western District of Washington. According to the court docket, Smartwings purchased or leased forty-five B737 MAXs and had accepted delivery of seven aircraft before the Ethiopian crash. It was obligated to continue paying for them during their grounding and "suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in damages as a result of Boeing's malfeasance," the carrier claimed in court documents.