The suit was lodged by the family of Ghassan Koujan, a Syrian chef who was flying to the Middle East to arrange immigration papers so that his wife and three children could join him in New Jersey. Mr Koujan had been living in America for 10 years and was seeking US citizenship.
Boeing, which built the jet, is named with the airline as a co-defendant. However, legal experts predict that Boeing will be absolved of liability if current theories - that the plane was brought down deliberately by one of the plane's crew - are proved.
Whatever the outcome of the investigation, EgyptAir will almost certainly face serial lawsuits, they said. "Whether it is a defective aeroplane or whether it is an improperly trained crew or whether it is suicide by a deranged co-pilot, the airline is liable," said Lee Kreindler, an aviation lawyer.
Gerald Baker, the New Jersey lawyer representing the Koujan family, said he had written to EgyptAir asking it to make payments to the families of victims at once. "We are calling on EgyptAir to do the right thing," he said.