Pennsylvania Record

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

American Airlines asks federal judge to toss case over woman's injuries

Federal Court

By Karen Kidd | Aug 8, 2019

PHILADELPHIA — A Fort Worth, Texas-based airline being sued by a Huntingdon Valley couple over an employee's fall that allegedly caused injuries in a jet bridge last year is asking a federal judge to throw out the case.

In its motion to dismiss, American Airlines said personal injury liability during air travel is governed by the Warsaw and Montreal conventions, which are not mentioned in the lawsuit filed in state court in March.

"Plaintiffs' complaint inappropriately asserts state law claims that cannot survive because state law claims are preempted by the Montreal Convention," the motion to dismiss said. "Whereas here, plaintiffs' claims fall within the scope of the Montreal Convention, the convention provides the exclusive basis for seeking recovery and preempts all other law. Therefore, plaintiffs' state law claims must be dismissed."

The case initially was filed in Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, but American Airlines filed on July 29 to have the case removed to U.S. District for Pennsylvania's Eastern District. The same day, American Airlines filed its motion to dismiss the case, which the city of Philadelphia joined two days later.

The case currently is assigned to U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter, on the bench in Pennsylvania's Eastern District.

The lawsuit filed by plaintiffs Fiana and Isaac Pesenson stems from the alleged trip-and-fall incident April 26, 2018, while the couple were "guest pedestrians" waiting in line on a jet bridge at Philadelphia International Airport to board a flight to Paris. The couple allege defendants permitted "a dangerous and defective condition to exist," the lawsuit said.

An American Airlines employee, Asia Campbell, walked the jet bridge "in such a manner so as to cause herself to trip, stumble and/or otherwise lose her balance, causing her to fall into Faina Pesenson's body," the lawsuit said.

Faina Pesenson fell to the floor of the jet bridge and suffered "serious personal injuries, damages and losses," the lawsuit said.

The Pesensons claim negligence and loss of consortium and are asking for more than $100,000, plus interest and costs.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Pesensons by attorney Jeffrey L. Dashevsky of Dashevsky, Horowitz, Kuhn, Novello & Shore's Philadelphia office. The case now is listed in the Eastern District under case no. 2:19-cv-03215-GEKP

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