Even the United States government is part of our litigious society.
The federal government is suing Southwest Airlines, alleging that the Dallas-based carrier failed to meet the proper safety standards on repairs to dozens of planes.
The suit was filed after the government and Southwest could not reach a settlement agreement on $12 million in fines imposed on the airline by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year regarding the maintenance issues.
The suit was filed Monday night in federal district court in Washington state. Southwest had hired a third-party firm, Aviation Technical Services, to repair 44 Boeing 737 planes to prevent the aluminum skin from cracking. Aviation Technical Services is based in Everett, Wash.
"Although an air carrier such as Southwest may delegate alterations or maintenance work, such delegation does not relieve the air carrier of the responsibility to ensure that maintenance is performed properly and that the aircraft is airworthy upon return to service," the government alleges in its filing.
"We dispute the FAA's allegations and look forward to the opportunity to vigorously defend Southwest's record in a court of law," a Southwest spokesperson told the Associated Press on Monday night.
This is not the first time the federal government has sued an airline, and not even the first time Southwest has been the subject of the lawsuit. According to the Associated Press, the FAA fined Southwest $10.2 million in 2008, and the two sides later settled the following year for $7.5 million.
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