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Judge Throws Out Request for Documents by Ribbeck Law in Malaysian Airlines Case

A judge has thrown out twin bids from a Chicago law firm for Boeing Co. and Malaysian Airline Systems Bhd. to turn over documents and data about missing Flight 370 for a potential lawsuit.

The judge also threatened to have the lawyers punished if they attempted such a tactic again, according to Bloomberg. Flight 370 went missing during its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing back on March 8. It is believed the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean. The search is in its fourth week.

Judge Kathy M. Flanagan, of Cook County Circuit Court, dismissed the first of two petitions filed by the law firm of Ribbeck Law Chartered. The first petition was dismissed on March 28 and the second was dismissed on Monday.

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“Commencing today the court will impose sanctions on the law firm if there are any other unfounded filings,” Flanagan said in yesterday’s ruling.

Flanagan said that asking for information about an accident prior to the filing of a lawsuit is permitted in the Illinois courts when those possibly responsible for the fault are not known. She also said that the procedure is not permitted otherwise. Flanagan said that the rule permits for this discovery “for the sole purpose of ascertaining the identity of one who may be liable in damages.”

Flanagan said that the firm knew this because she threw out two similar rulings last year. Those dealt with the crash of an Asiana Airlines jet when it landed at San Francisco International Airport.

“All of those petitions were assigned to this court,” Flanagan said. She said that with each dismissal, she said that the filings were brought about improperly.

A partner at Ribbeck, Monica R. Kelly, said she will appeal the ruling of the judge.

“For us it really has no effect,” Kelly said. “We will of course wait until the wreckage or debris has been identified before we file the complaint.”

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