New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and the Colorado Fire & Police Pension Association were named co-lead plaintiffs in a shareholder lawsuit against Boeing Co., Chicago, and current and former executive officers and board members.
The order appointing the trustee of the $194.3 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, and the $6.1 billion Greenwood Village, Colo.-based pension fund as co-lead plaintiffs was signed by Delaware Chancery Court Chancellor Andre G. Bouchard on Aug. 3, according to a joint news release from the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit, filed on June 12 in Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington, said Boeing and its board of directors breached their fiduciary duties by dismantling Boeing's "lauded safety-engineering corporate culture in favor of what became a financial-engineering corporate culture," leading to what the plaintiffs call the flawed design of Boeing's 737 Max airplane, according to the news release.
The court filing cites one signal event as Boeing's acquisition of McDonnell Douglas in 1997, "after which Boeing adopted McDonnell Douglas's cost-cutting approach to building airplanes," according to the court filing.
"Boeing's board and officers cut corners and put safety in the back seat, with catastrophic human and financial consequences. Board members and top executives failed in their responsibility to heed the warning signs, leaving Boeing's finances severely damaged and its once-proud reputation in tatters," Mr. DiNapoli said in the news release. "As co-lead plaintiff with our partners, we look forward to this opportunity to hold the company leadership accountable for their derogation of duty to the company and indifference to public safety."
"FPPA takes the governance of the corporations in which it invests very seriously," said Dan Slack, FPPA's executive director, in the news release. "We are determined and ready to pursue claims of malfeasance against the officers and directors of Boeing. We are excited to work with New York State Comptroller DiNapoli in that pursuit with the goal of strengthening Boeing as a corporation."
Boeing spokesman Peter P. Pedraza declined to comment.
Mr. DiNapoli's spokesman Matt Sweeney and FPPA spokesman Kevin Lindahl had no further comment.