I generally agree with the assessment of how these types of lawsuits originate. However, every once in a while something gets uncovered through the civil discovery process in a lawsuit.
I think the Max is a safe airplane after the modifications. However, fixing the problem and getting to the bottom of why it happened are two different things.
The “fixing” part of the equation has been solved. However, I don’t think we’ve completely uncovered the why and how this happened. In the not too distant past we learned that had Sally Ride not passed on some o ring temperature data to General Kutyna, the Rogers Commission may not have uncovered how long NASA knew about the O ring issue with the Space Shuttle that led to the Challenger disaster. If Rick Parks hadn’t gone public with the flawed cleanup plan at Three Mile Island, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission would have rubber stamped Bechtel Corporation’s plan to use a damaged crane to lift wreckage out of the reactor building and people would have been put at risk. This is a lawsuit, not a whistleblower report, but sometimes lawsuits uncover the same sorts of things.
This was the second time Boeing got caught flat footed in the narrow body market and warmed over a 1960’s regional jet that was past it’s prime. it’s also the second time Boeing made decisions to keep it’s biggest customer of the type happy by designing the cockpit and systems so that a pilot certified to fly the older versions could fly this one. It worked out the first time (NG), not so much on the Max. Boeing was in a bad way when Airbus announced the NEO. They got caught off guard and were desperate to answer. They also knew that they’re buggiest customer for the type had to buy in.
Southwest also isn’t “Herb’s Little Airline” anymore. That became apparent in 2008 when the FAA levied a $10.2 million (reduced to $7.5 million) for safety violations. Does this mean Southwest is unsafe? No, I’d say they’re not more or less safe than any other US major. They’re just not “special.” They exist to maximize shareholder value and they’ll do what they have to in order to make that happen. There’s nothing wrong with that unless it compromises safety. We know that WN’s mantra has been “single pilot pool” for a long time. They don’t want to give that up. Did that mentality cause mistakes to be made? We’ll have to see where this leads to find out.
This lawsuit may just be a money grab. It may uncover more of the story of how the Max came to become what it did. Until it plays out we won’t know. I’m not willing to just dismiss it as a money grab until more of the story comes out though.
Please remember, this is a class action lawsuit, likely initiated by lawyers who saw $$$ so decide to file it. They targeted Southwest because they found some sliver of evidence they could use. Their intent is most likely to just get a settlement so the class members get $50 an the lawyers pocket a nice payday. There is likely no intention to do anything to actually improve safety here.
All of that is merely quite an assumption on your part. Can you factually support anything at all in it?
I can support it based on the history of class action lawsuits in this country. This type of lawsuit, not led by a victim with clear obvious damages, but by "victims" the lawyers who wanted to bring the lawsuit found (they'll have a few named plaintiffs who will get extra money of course) to sue on behalf of. In the end either it'll end up they don't have the goods and will just go away or, like most, it will end in a settlement where nobody actually admits fault, so this lawsuit will accomplish nothing but raising future prices on WN flights to pay for it. If we're gonna blow all this money, let's blow it on actually fixing something, which this particular suit will not.
It's not a pro/con anybody argument, its my general hatred of class action lawsuits here in the US hat just add cost to businesses and accomplish nothing but buying the lawyer a bigger boat.