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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Cases—Preemption—Contract claim against airline delay barred by Warsaw Convention

Us_flag A surgeon with a valid ticket who lost money because an airline refused to let him board its aircraft could not bring a breach of contract action against the airline, but might have a claim under the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to International Transportation by Air (the "Warsaw Convention), according to a federal district court in Connecticut.

Dr. Nkemakonam Ikekpeazu was trying to fly from Nigeria to the United States, but Air France refused to let him board, citing a problem with his passport.  He later sued. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny held that his contract and tort claims were barred by the Warsaw Convention, and therefore the airline could not be liable for the losses on ordinary state law grounds.  But he noted that under the Convention a carrier "shall be liable for damage occasioned by delay in the transportation by air of passengers, baggage, or goods." The surgeon’s suit could go forward on that ground.  Ikekpeazu v. Air France, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24580 (D. Conn. Dec. 6, 2004).

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