Families of four MH370 victims sue Malaysia Airlines


The families of four Australian passengers on board the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are suing the company for not doing enough to prevent the flight from mysteriously flying off course and disappearing.

Close friends Robert and Catherine Lawton and Rodney and Mary Burrows were four of 239 people on board the Boeing 777 aircraft which vanished not long after it took off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014.

The two Queensland couples were travelling together and headed for Beijing.

At the time Rodney and Mary Burrows had recently sold their Brisbane home in Middle Park home and were preparing to travel after downsizing.

Mr Burrows was a long-term employee of energy company Energex and had just accepted a redundancy in the past two years before he boarded flight MH370.

Two years later, the families of the Lawtons and Burrows are asking for compensation after “suffering varying degrees of nervous shock and consequential economic loss” as a result of the death of their loved ones.

The families are seeking more than $200,000 in damages in the Federal Court of Australia.

They are also seeking reimbursement of the cost of memorial services and the cost of administering the estates.

The surviving relatives claim the airline “failed to take any or any adequate precautions for the safety of the passengers” and “exposed the passengers to a risk of injury, which could have been avoided by reasonable care”.

Their statement of claim also said the company “failed to prevent the Flight from being operated in a manner that caused it to crash”.

In March the family of another MH370 victim, Paul Weeks, lodged court documents stating their intention to sue the airline over the Perth man’s death.

Victorian Jennifer Chong, 48 also launched legal action in the Victorian Supreme Court over the death of her husband of 23 years, Chong Ling Tan.

Australia and Malaysia are parties to the 1999 Montreal Convention.

Under the convention claimants are limited to 113,000 special drawing rights which is equivalent to about $209,000.

If the court finds the Montreal Convention does not apply, there is no cap on the amount of damages that they claim.

The airline was placed into administration in August last year.

The matter is next listed for directions on August 17.


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