Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Case of the Day: Yang v. Asiana Airlines, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129174 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 14, 2017)


The case concerns Asiana Flight 214, which departed from Seoul, South Korea and crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013. Asiana Airlines is based in South Korea. The two plaintiffs are Chinese nationals who began their trip from Shanghai, China and transferred onto Flight 214. The plaintiffs had "open jaw" round-trip tickets: the departing trip went from Shanghai to San Francisco via Seoul, and the return trip was scheduled to be from Los Angeles to Shanghai via Seoul.

The court granted the motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Article 33 of the Montreal Convention provides an action for damages must be sought in one of the five jurisdictions: (1) the carrier's domicile; (2) the carrier's principal place of business; (3) situs of the contract; (4) destination; (5) passenger's primary residence in which the carrier conducts business. The court found that even in case of an open jaw ticket, the complete round-trip meant that the passengers' final destination was Shanghai, China. The court also found the three-month stay in the United States to receive medical treatment did not establish primary residence.


It is always fascinating to see how the case law builds incrementally. Essentially, the plaintiffs' entire case for U.S. jurisdiction hinged on the fact that their tickets were open jaw. And it genuinely was an open question, until the court addressed the point.

No comments:

Post a Comment