USA

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U.S. Court: mental anguish compensable under Montreal Convention if it results from an accident that also caused bodily injury

Plaintiff Jane Doe and her eleven-year-old daughter flew aboard Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to Chicago. When she stuck her hand into the seat pocket in front of her, she was unexpectedly pricked by a hypodermic needle that lay hidden within. The needle drew blood from her finger.  Doe was prescribed medication for possible exposure to hepatitis, tetanus, and HIV, and she underwent several rounds of testing over the following year. Thankfully for Doe, all the tests came back negative.

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USA: 9th Circuit Court of Appeal upholds block on "Travel Ban"

In a unanimous, per curiam ruling, a three-judge panel largely upheld the block on President Trump’s revised Travel Ban keeping people from six majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States for 90 days. The judges pointed out that although the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) gives the President broad  powers to control the entry of aliens, and to take actions to protect the American public, immigration, even for the President, is not a one-person show. The President’s authority is subject to certain statutory and constitutional restraints .

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U.S.A.: DOT fines airlines for not adequately responding to complaints of disabled passengers

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today fined Air France, Lufthansa, and British Airways for not adequately responding to complaints filed by passengers with disabilities.  Air France and Lufthansa were each fined USD 200,000 and British Airways was fined USD 150,000.  The airlines were also ordered to cease and desist from future similar violations.

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USA: DOT reminds airlines on their obligations regarding damaged baggage

Following a routine airport inspection at 16 airports nationwide in a two week period in September 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a notice reminding airlines that they are required to compensate passengers for damage to wheels, straps, zippers, handles, and other protruding parts of checked baggage beyond normal wear and tear.  The notice also reminds airlines of their obligation to accept all reports of mishandled baggage from consumers even if an airline’s agent believes the airline is not liable.

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USA: new DOT web page on Passenger Cruise Ship Information

To assist cruise ship passengers, the U.S. Department of Transportation has set up a web page sharing information and resources provided by other Federal agencies. The information covers "Consumer Assistance", "Vessel Safety", "Cruise Line Incident Reporting Statistics" and "Criminal Activity Prevention and Response Guide (Security Guide)". The new web page is available at http://www.dot.gov/mission/safety/passenger-cruise-ship-information.

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USA: TSA announces tighter security measures at certain airports

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) directed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. All electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening.

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USA: court finds 'No Fly List' unconstitutional

A federal judge in Orgeon struck down as unconstitutional the government’s procedures for people on the No Fly List to challenge their inclusion.

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U.S. Supreme Court: Frequent flier claim preempted by Airline Deregulation Act

Northwest terminated Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg’s membership in its frequent flyer program, apparently based on a provision in the fre­quent flyer agreement that gave Northwest sole discretion to deter­mine whether a participant had abused the program. Rabbi Ginsberg filed a suit, asserting, that Northwest had breached its contract by revoking his membership status without valid cause and had violated the duty of good faith and fair dealing because it terminated his membership in a way that contravened his reasonable expectations.

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USA: DOT fines Qantas for not informing passengers of opportunity to leave delayed aircraft

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that Qantas Airways violated federal rules last March by not informing passengers on a delayed aircraft at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport that they had the opportunity to leave the plane as it sat at the gate for an extended period of time with the door open.  DOT fined Qantas USD 90,000 and ordered the airline to cease and desist from further violations.

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