Russian firm sues Boeing over Max jet, says defects hidden

A Russian aircraft leasing company seeks to cancel an order for 35 Boeing Max jets, accusing the U.S. aircraft maker of hiding defects in the plane that was grounded after two deadly crashes

MOSCOW -- A Russian aircraft leasing company that ordered 35 Boeing Max jets is suing the U.S. aircraft maker and seeking to cancel the deal, accusing Boeing of hiding defects in the plane that was grounded after two deadly crashes.

The Miami-based lawyer for the leasing company said Tuesday it is the first lawsuit filed against Boeing by a Max customer. He said he is talking to other companies about joining the case.

A spokesman for Boeing declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

Avia could become the first customer to cancel a signed agreement to buy the Max as a result of the crashes and grounding. In July, Saudi Arabian discount airline flyadeal backed out of a commitment to order 50 Max jets, but unlike Avia, flyadeal never signed a firm order.

Avia ordered Max jets in 2012 and was originally set to begin receiving them this year, but the deliveries were delayed. The company is seeking damages of at least $115 million, which attorney Steven Marks said included a $40 million deposit and $75 million in lost profit, plus additional money for punitive damages.

Marks, who also represents families of passengers who were killed in the two crashes, said he has talked to "several" other Max customers and expects some to join the Avia lawsuit. None are U.S. companies, he said.

Executives for Southwest, American and United have stood by Boeing through the Max ordeal.