Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 update: First legal steps taken against Malaysia Airlines, Boeing

A Chicago-based attorney has taken the first formal legal steps related to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the opening shot in what promises to be a sustained litigation campaign.

Monica Kelly, a lawyer at Ribbeck Law, asked an Illinois state judge on Tuesday to order Malaysia Airlines and Boeing, which manufactured the missing airplane, to provide documents and other information.

Kelly is seeking specific information about the airline's batteries, details on the fire and oxygen systems and records related to the fuselage.

The filing appears to be the first move toward U.S.-based litigation stemming from the March 8 incident. The firm said it plans to build a multi-million dollar suit against the airline and Boeing.

Boeing declined to comment late Tuesday, and Malaysia Airlines officials were not immediately available.

Kelly's client, Januari Siregar, is the father of a Flight 370 passenger. It was not immediately clear when a judge would consider the filing.

International law dictates where suits against an airline may be brought. The families of victims are allowed to pursue legal action in countries including where tickets were purchased and where the airline is based. Suits can also be filed in the passenger's final destination.

That means most suits against Malaysia Airlines would be filed in China or Malaysia.

International law does not, however, dictate where lawsuits against other parties, including Chicago-based Boeing, may be brought. Legal experts say crafting a case against the airplane's manufacturer is more difficult than against the airline.

Malaysia Airlines said it believes the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean and that all 239 people aboard the aircraft died. No physical evidence of the plane or passengers has been found.

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