For Immediate Release
March 12, 2013
Ninth Circuit Affirms Right of Disabled American to Sue United Airlines for Negligence
San Francisco, CA — In an important, published opinion, the Ninth Circuit reinstated Michelle Gilstrap’s case against United Airlines for failing to accommodate her disabilities as required by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). In a case of first impression, the Court agreed with Ms. Gilstrap that disabled Americans can bring state law based negligence claims against airlines, so long as the standard of care with which the carriers must comply is the federal ACAA. The ACAA includes a set of rules establishing how the airlines must accommodate disabled passengers. Michelle Gilstrap is a disabled American who traveled on United Airlines in August 2008. During this trip Michelle Gilstrap alleges that United Air Lines failed to comply with the standards set forth in the ACAA, by failing to provide a wheel chair and other assistance required by the ACAA — by requiring proper assistance in transporting disabled passengers around the airport and between flights.
The Court rejected United Air Lines’ argument that the ACAA prevented Ms. Gilstrap from suing it. Ms. Gilstrap successfully argued that Congress did not intend to preclude disabled Americans from suing airlines when those airlines act in such a way that they injure, or cause further injuries, to disabled passengers.
“This decision,” according to Mr. Mark Meuser, who represented Ms. Gilstrap during the appeal, “is a great victory for disabled airline passengers. It sends a message to the airlines that, throughout the Ninth Circuit, they can be held accountable for their failure to treat such passengers in a manner consistent with the law.”
To see a copy of the Court’s order, please visit: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2013/03/12/11-55271.pdf
For more information, please contact:
The Meuser Law Group
Mark P. Meuser, Esq.
(925) 262-4656 – Facsimile
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