German Court: air carrier liable for allergic reaction to hot towel

In a recent judgement the Oberlandesgericht Frankfurt am Main held that an air carrier was liable for a passenger’s allergic reaction to the hot towels distributed during the flight. In October 2010, the plaintiff traveled on a fligth from India to Germany. She told one of the flight attendants that the hot towels could cause an allergic reaction of her body and asked not to distribute these towels during the flight. Despite this request, the towels were distributed and the plaintiff suffered from a respiatory distress which required immediate medical treatment after landing. The court partly granted her claim for compensation for pain and suffering as it regarded an allergic reaction to hot towels as a typical aviation related risk. Because of the plaintiff’s request, the crew should have been aware of the risk and should have refrained from distributing hot towels or at least protected the plaintiff by separating her from the area where the towels were distributed. However, the court saw some contributory negligence on behalf of the plaintiff because she had failed to emphatically say “stop” when the towels were distributed.Source: OLG Frankfurt/Main press release of April 30, 2014Case details: OLG Frankfurt/Main judgement 16 U 170/13 of April 16, 2014

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