Passengers who are injured on an international flight, or while embarking or disembarking from that flight, must make personal injury claims under the rules set forth in the Montreal Convention. This treaty requires a passenger to show that his injury was caused by an “accident,” which the Supreme Court has defined as “an unexpected or unusual event or happening that is external to the passenger,” and not “the passenger’s own internal reaction to the usual, normal, and expected operation of the aircraft.”
This case involved a professional musician who needed to descend several levels at a gate in the Munich Airport to board his flight. Burdened with heavy luggage, including his large musical instrument, the passenger asked to use a nearby elevator, but was denied by an airline employee and told to use the escalators instead. With no reasonable alternative, the passenger tried to descend the escalators with his luggage, but fell, injuring his neck and arm.
This brief convinced a federal judge that the question of whether this fall was an “accident” was for a jury to decide. The ruling was made from the bench with no written opinion.
Please see full brief below for more information.
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