The Upsides of Party Participation in an NTSB Investigation
While Boeing and transportation-industry officials search for a cause of the battery problems on the 787 Dreamliner plane, the company finds itself in a very familiar position: that of “party” to an investigation led by the National Transportation Safety Board, a status Boeing has occupied hundreds of times in the last 45 years. And perhaps unlike other types of government investigations, which are conducted once an incident has occurred, this is the kind of investigation in which active involvement by a company can be a welcome opportunity.
As Aircraft Accident Investigation and Litigation Co-Chair Gary Halbert, the former general counsel of the NTSB, puts it: “Many times you’re working right there beside them.”
In counseling his clients, he advises all participants to be “responsive, accurate, and helpful in identifying the root cause of an accident.” Readily providing assistance also helps a company “preserve its reputation as having a focus on safety.”