MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Boeing sued for negligence over 2022 murder of employee

Jan 26, 2024, 12:48 AM | Updated: 4:29 am

Photo: The Boeing Co. logo is displayed outside of company offices....

The Boeing Co. logo is displayed outside of company offices. (Photo: Patrick T. Fallon, Getty Images)

(Photo: Patrick T. Fallon, Getty Images)

While Boeing is facing harsh criticism for not properly assembling its jets, the company is also being sued for not taking care of the safety of its employees.

Boeing is currently facing a federal complaint that holds the company responsible for not adequately addressing the concerns raised by a worker, ultimately resulting in a tragic murder-suicide in 2022. (The lawsuit document can be viewed here.)

More on Boeing: Whistleblower reveals Boeing problems on the Renton assembly line may run deep

Rachel Washington, the executor of Isaiah Washington’s estate, initiated the legal action in Washington’s King County Superior Court in December. Boeing has recently transferred the case to federal court.

The plaintiff alleged that Isaiah Washington, a former Boeing employee, was entangled in a complex personal situation involving two other colleagues at the Renton assembly plant. According to the original lawsuit documents filed in King County Superior Court, Washington was romantically and sexually involved with Rachel Pettit, his supervisor, while another colleague, Ralph O’Connor, also was in the midst of a four-year romantic relationship with Pettit.

O’Connor found out about Pettit’s relationship with Washington in early September 2021. The suit claimed that O’Connor was very possessive of Pettit and displayed behavior and anger issues throughout their relationship.

O’Connor had a history of threats to other Boeing employees and had been previously suspended by Boeing. According to O’Connor’s wife, Boeing was aware of a dispute between O’Connor and Washington “for a while” and the company did nothing about it.

The situation reached a tragic climax on Nov. 21, 2022 when O’Connor stalked Washington, knowing when his work schedule as Washington and Pettit worked the same shift. O’Connor waited for Washington to park his car and walk through the Renton Landing to the Boeing plant. O’Connor shot and killed Washington on the street, then killed himself. The Renton Police Department investigated the case.

More from Matt Markovich: House passes bill requiring a license to ‘smelt dip’

“Boeing, including supervisors on text messages, had knowledge of O’Conner’s unfitness to be an employee and failed to exercise reasonable care to discover his unfitness before continuing to retain O’Connor,” the lawsuit alleged.

The lawsuit accused Boeing of negligence because the company knowingly allowed a supervisor, Pettit, to continue to have a sexual relationship with Washington, her subordinate. A federal judge gave Boeing until Jan. 23 to respond to the complaint.

Matt Markovich often covers the state legislature and public policy for KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of Matt’s stories here. Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email him here.

MyNorthwest News

I-5 pedestrian killed...

Bill Kaczaraba

Man killed in hit-and-run on Interstate-5 in Seattle

The Washington State Patrol is in the process of gathering further details about a traffic incident on Interstate-5that left one man dead.

7 hours ago

Tegu Tazz...

KATY WADE, KIRO 7 NEWS

Granite Falls alligator turns out to be escaped pet tegu named ‘Tazz’

Reports of a 10-foot alligator have turned out to be an “incredibly docile and friendly” pet tegu by the name of Tazz.

7 hours ago

Apartment fire in Sotuh Lake Union. (via KIRO 7)...

Bill Kaczaraba

South Lake Union apartment fire contained, 2 may be injured

An apartment fire in South Lake Union has been contained, but two people may have been injured.. The fire was in the 320 block of 7th Ave N but units remain in the area. Authorities are asking you to avoid the area. Firefighters are on scene at a reported fire in an apartment building in […]

8 hours ago

CrowdStrike...

MATT O'BRIEN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

How a faulty CrowdStrike update crashed computers around the world

All it took was one faulty CrowdStrike software update to cause global disruptions that grounded flights, and other services.

9 hours ago

Image: A dog was found around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 at Colman Dock in Seattle without ...

Steve Coogan

Lost dog found alone on Seattle ferry dock heads to a new home

A lost dog found without its owner on a ferry dock in Seattle last month, later identified as Tripp, has found a new home.

13 hours ago

Image: The Tacoma Police Department released images of a shooting in the parking lot of at the Taco...

Steve Coogan

Gunman nearly hits Tacoma schools security officer during daytime shooting

Police in Tacoma are probing a shooting where a bullet nearly hit hitting a security officer working at the Tacoma Public Schools building.

14 hours ago

Boeing sued for negligence over 2022 murder of employee