Archive for Saturday, July 7, 2007

Lawrence attorney to be on TV in Boeing case

July 7, 2007




A Lawrence attorney involved in what could be a landmark case in aircraft safety will be featured on national television Tuesday.

Bill Skepnek, who has practiced law in Lawrence since 1989, is one of several lawyers representing three whistleblowers who claim that Boeing and one of its suppliers, AHF Ducommun of Los Angeles, manufactured unapproved parts.

"We think people are being put at risk every day on these airplanes," Skepnek said.

Sunflower Broadband HD-pack cable subscribers can see the story on Dan Rather Reports at 7 p.m. on Channel 220.

A court date has yet to be set for the lawsuit, which was filed in 2005 when the whistleblowers retained Wichita lawyer Corlin Pratt. The case will be tried in U.S. District Court in Wichita.

Along with several attorneys from a Chicago-based law firm, Pratt and Skepnek are serving as co-counsel in the case.

"We've got a great team approach," Pratt said. "It's a case in which there are so many thousands of documents and literally hundreds of witnesses; it's very nice to have the three firms ... and with it the trust that just about any of us could handle any task."

Roughly 50 Boeing 737s, more than two dozen of which were sold to the U.S. military, allegedly have faulty chords, or aluminum ribs that form the aircraft's frame.

"Nothing is more important structurally than chords in an airplane," Skepnek said.

No trial date has been set.


compmd 10 years, 8 months ago

Whenever you think flying (whether GA or commercial) is expensive, remember that its these aviation attorneys who usually have little to no background in engineering that are the biggest contributors to the high price.

The safest method of travel gets attacked like this because the companies involved with it have lots of money. Lawyers like lots of money. Joe Middle Class likes lots of money. Both of them want more all the time.

I am somewhat familiar with this case, and it is more about a lack of knowledge than anything else. Who blew the whistle? A bunch of analysts? Where are the structures engineers that should be backing them up? Sure, the parts Ducommun supplied might have sucked, but were the aircraft unsafe? The structures engineers didn't seem to think so. The manufacturing supervisors didn't seem to think so. Also, the FAA didn't think there was a problem; only after the whistleblowers PAID someone to say there was a problem did the FAA take another look. The Air Force even says the aircraft are fine.

So, what seems more reasonable to you: that the entirety of the engineering chain of command failed (it takes at least 7 signatures of increasing authority at Boeing to certify a structural assembly), that the DER system failed, that the FAA failed, that the Air Force A&P mechanics and engineers failed, or that there are four people frustrated with Boeing feeling vengeful?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 8 months ago

I suspect that these whistleblowers are more than just receptionists. Don't you?

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