Canada: Warsaw Convention applied on non-complinace with wheelchair request

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

Plaintiff purchased a return ticket with Lufthansa in India for a flight from New Delhi to Toronto via Frankfurt. She stated that during the flight before arrival in Toronto, she had requested that Lufthansa should provide a wheelchair on arrival. The carrier was alleged to have not complied with this request and, as a result, plaintiff had to walk from the aircraft to the terminal. When she  encountered an escalator inside the airport, she fell and and suffered permanent and serious injury. She filed a law suit in Toronto. Lufthansa argued that the court had no jurisdiction to hear ortry the action.

The court held that the claim  falls within the meaning of the word “accident” in Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention: Lufthansa’s refusal to provide plaintiff with a wheelchair constitutes a link in the chain of causation which resulted in her injury. Accordingly, the plaintiffs’ claim against Lufthansa falls within a category of claim for which the Convention provides a remedy, namely for bodily injury pursuant to Article 17 and therefore the Convention, pursuant to Article 24 (2) provides the exclusive remedy. Because none of the four criteria for jurisdiction as required by Article 28(1) are found in Canada and more particularly Ontario, the Court has no jurisdiction over the action against Lufthansa. The court therefore dismissed the claim on on the ground that Ontario has no jurisdiction to hear it.

Full judgement of Nov. 5, 2010 in case Balani v. Lufthansa, 2010 ONSC 3003 available in pdf here>>.

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