USA/Texas: limited airline liability for injury caused by other passenger

In Wright v. American Airlines, Inc. (N.D. Tex. Feb. 8, 2010), during the aircraft’s climb flight, and while the “fasten seat belt” light was on, a passenger stood up to remove an item from an overhead compartment. An object fell down and struck another passenger on his head, injuring him. The injured passenger sued American under the Montreal Convention, alleging that the airline was liable for damages “exceeding 100,000 SDRs as provided in Article 21.” American moved for partial summary judgment, contending that, under Article 21(2), it should not be held liable for any damages in excess of 100,000 SDRs because the plaintiff’s injuries had not been caused by the airline’s negligence but solely by a third party, the other passenger.The court found that the airline had presented sufficient evidence to prove that the injuries were not caused by any negligence, omission, or other wrongful act on its part or on the part of its flight crew. In particular, court found that the airline had done all that it could do by making a preflight announcement that the “fasten seat belt” sign had been turned on and that passengers should be careful when opening an overhead compartment. Accordingly, the court held that plaintiff could not recover damages from American in excess of 100,000 SDRs.Source: The NV Flyer; find article here>>.

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