The families of victims involved in the Germanwings Flight 9525’s deliberate crash in the French Alps last year filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the American flight school where the co-pilot was trained. The suit alleged that the school failed to properly screen Andreas Lubitz’s medical background.
The lawsuit was reportedly filed in the U.S. district court in Phoenix against the Airline Training Center of Arizona. The training school is owned by Lufthansa, which is also the parent company of Germanwings that employed Lubitz. A similar complaint was filed on March 29 in the same court by David Friday, an Australian whose wife and son were killed in the Germanwings crash. Families of 80 of the victims killed in the crash reportedly filed the lawsuit, including lawyers in the U.K., Germany and the Netherlands.
“Lubitz’s particular history of depression and mental instability made him a suicide time bomb, triggered to go off under the ordinary stresses of life, particularly the kind of stresses a commercial pilot routinely faces,” Attorney Marc S. Moller of the New York law firm Kreindler & Kreindler, which represents the families, said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for Lufthansa reportedly said that the action had "no chance of success." The flight training school has not responded to the lawsuit, BBC reported.
The crash took place on March 24, 2015, when the plane was traveling from Barcelona, Spain, to Dusseldorf, Germany, with 150 people on board. When the captain left the cockpit to use the bathroom, Lubitz locked the door behind him, throwing the Airbus A320 into a steady descent, ensuring it plunged into the mountainside.
In the final minutes of the flight, recordings reportedly only picked up the co-pilot's breathing as he ignored warnings from air traffic controllers and the captain attempting to open the cockpit door.
The 27-year-old, who died along with all passengers and crew, had struggled for many years with mental problems. Authorities said the probe found that just days before the crash a doctor had urged Lubitz to attend a psychiatric hospital but his employer was never alerted.
“A goal of this lawsuit,” Brian Alexander, a Kreindler partner and military-trained pilot who represents the plaintiffs, reportedly said, “beyond seeking fair compensation for the families affected by the Germanwings disaster, is to focus attention on the urgent need for regular periodic mental health screening of all pilots to further ensure the safety of airline passengers.”