CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A second former Boeing worker at the North Charleston plant has filed a lawsuit in which his lawyers state that he was fired for failing to notice a bird strike on a test flight.
Joe Delmarco filed the lawsuit Monday in Charleston County court claiming the bird strike never happened.
He’s suing the company claiming he was fired for the same incident as fellow former Flight Readiness Technician Rich Mester which happened on October 30, 2018.
The flight crew did their walk around inspection of flight 731, a test flight of a 787 Dreamliner to be delivered to United Airlines, and the lawsuit claims the crew didn’t note any damage from bird strikes. The suit also claims the pilot of the plane also didn’t report any bird strikes and Delmarco later signed off on required post-flight paperwork stating he didn’t find any evidence of bird strikes.
Six days later, Delmarco was suspended for what a supervisor told him was a “high-hazard” incident. On Nov. 16, during an investigation interview, the suit claims a Boeing investigator told him the suspension was because of an alleged bird strike on the same plane plane where he claims he didn’t see anything wrong.
The suit alleges Delmarco then received a letter on Dec. 2 stating he was fired. The lawsuit claims he filed an appeal which was later denied.
According to the lawsuit, the Federal Aviation Administration found a bird strike never happened. It should be noted that the FAA self-reporting website for wildlife strikes shows a bird strike that was reported on a Boeing 787 on Oct. 31, 2018.
Delmarco was also a visible union supporter and believes he was fired in order to scare others into withdrawing their support for a union, the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit also alleges Delmarco reported missing tools and other safety concerns, but stated, “Boeing was more interested in the delivery of the plane than flight safety.” The suit states that management “did nothing” when Delmarco reported foreign object debris.
The lawsuit alleges wrongful termination, slander and negligent supervision of an employee. He’s suing for actual and compensatory damages. He joins Liam Wallis, Mester, and Kurt Hollensteiner as former Flight Readiness Technicians who have filed lawsuits.
Boeing released a statement connected to Mester’s lawsuit:
“In fact, Mester’s teammate, who has self-identified as the president of the local IAM union, personally collected and bagged the bird strike evidence, including blood and feathers,” Boeing officials said. “The FAA has since analyzed that evidence and confirmed that, in fact, it was a bird that struck the engine; they were even able to determine the type of bird involved. These findings are publicly available on the FAA’s National Wildlife Strike Database.”