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Robertson v. American Airlines

August 18, 2003

KATHLEEN ROBERTSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Documents Nos. 14, 21, 28

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GRANTING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; DENYING AS MOOT THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

This negligence action comes before the court on the parties' motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff Kathleen Robertson brings suit against defendant American Airlines ("AA") for compensatory and punitive damages resulting from thermal-burn injuries she allegedly sustained during an AA flight. The defendant contends that the plaintiff's complaint is timebarred by the statute of limitations under the Warsaw Convention*fn1 governing international air travel. The plaintiff argues that the Warsaw Convention does not apply to her complaint and that consequently her complaint is not time-barred. Because the AA flight on which the plaintiff sustained her injuries qualifies as"international transportation" within the meaning of the Warsaw Convention, the court concludes that the plaintiff's complaint is time-barred, grants the defendant's motion for summary judgment, and denies as moot the plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

At the time of the alleged injury, the plaintiff lived and worked in Virginia. Def.'s Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ("Def.'s Statement") ¶ 15; Pl.'s Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ("Pl.'s Statement") ¶ 1. At the end of August 1998, the plaintiff was scheduled to go to Denver, Colorado on business. Def.'s Statement ¶ 2; Pl.'s Statement ¶ 24.

In August and September of 1998, the plaintiff made various travel arrangements, the booking and travel history of which are critical to this dispute. In early August, the plaintiff booked two round-trip flights through her agent at Gateway Travel, Nancy Thompson. Def.'s Statement ¶ 1; Pl.'s Statement of Disputed Material Facts ("Pl.'s Resp.") ¶ 1; Pl.'s Statement ¶¶ 5, 22, 25. First, on August 7, the plaintiff booked a round-trip British Airways ("BA") flight from Denver to London,*fn2 leaving on September 2 and returning on September 8. Def.'s Statement ¶ 4; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 4. Three days later, on August 10, the plaintiff booked a round-trip AA flight from Washington, D.C. to Denver (via Chicago) leaving on August 29 and returning on September 8. Def.'s Statement ¶ 5; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 5. As a result of these bookings, the plaintiff was scheduled to depart Washington for Denver on August 29; depart Denver for London on September 2; and depart London for Denver and Denver for Washington on September 8, as follows:

Date of booking Booking agent Date of flight Flight Airline

August 10 Thompson at Gateway August 29 DC to Chicago to Denver AA

August 7 Thompson at Gateway September 2 Denver to London BA

August 7 Thompson at Gateway September 8 London to Denver BA

August 10 Thompson at Gateway September 8 Denver to ...


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