Germany: Montreal liabilty limit for lost baggage applies per passenger regardless of number of checked pieces of baggage

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

On August 31, 2008, the plaintiff traveled together with her husband on a flight from Frankfurt/Main to Malaga, operated by the defandant. Upon arrival she discovered that her golf bag (checked baggage) was lost. She claimed that the bag did not only contain her own golf equipment but also that of her husband who had assigned his claims to her. She sued for a compensation which in total exceeded the amount of the limit under Article 22 para. 2 Montreal Convention.

AG Rüsselsheim as court of first instance only granted the amount of the limit and dismissed the exceeding claim. The appelate court (LG Darmstadt) upheld this decision.

Upon further appeal, the German Civil Supreme Court (BGH) repealed the judgement. The BGH held that claims for compensation for lost checked baggage under the Montreal Convention did not depend on a baggage voucher issued upon check in. Furthermore according to the wording of Article 22 Montreal, the liabilty limit for lost baggage applied per passenger rather than per checked piece of luggage. If one passenger therefore put his belongings into the bag of another passenger who checked the bag with the carrier, both passengers had a claim up to the limit.

BGH judgment of March 15, 2011 – X ZR 99/10

Source: BGH press release of March 15, 2011, avialble in German here>>.

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