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Olympic Airways v. Husain

Docket No.: 02-1348
Argued: November 12, 2003
Decided: February 24, 2004

Topics:

Treaty, Economic Activity, Nongovernmental Liability, Eighth Amendment, Eleventh Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Medicaid, Medicare, Supremacy Clause, immunity from suit, sovereign immunity

PartyNames: Olympic Airways v. Rubina Husain, Individually, and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Abid M. Hanson, Deceased, et al.
Petitioner: Olympic Airways
Respondent: Rubina Husain, Individually, and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Abid M. Hanson, Deceased, et al.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Citation: CA 9, 316 F.3d 829. QUESTION PRESENTED Whether the "accident" condition precedent to air carrier liability for apassenger's death under Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention is satisfied when a passenger's pre-existing medical condition is aggravated by exposureto a normal condition in the aircraft cabin, even if the carrier's negligence were a link in the chain of causation? The Ninth Circuit's answer to this question in the affirmative directly conflicts with the Third and Eleventh Circuit decisions in Abramson v. Japan Airlines, Co., Ltd., 739 F.2d 130 (3dCir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1059 (1985) and Krys v. Lufthansa
Supreme Court Docket

Olympic Airways
v.
Rubina Husain, Individually, and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Abid M. Hanson, Deceased, et al.
540 U.S. 644 (2004)
Question:

If a passenger's pre-existing medical condition is aggravated by exposure to normal airplane conditions, is this an "accident" under the Warsaw Convention's Article 17 (for which the airline is responsible)?

Note:

. CA 9, 316 F.3d 829. QUESTION PRESENTED Whether the "accident" condition precedent to air carrier liability for apassenger's death under Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention is satisfied when a passenger's pre-existing medical condition is aggravated by exposureto a normal condition in the aircraft cabin, even if the carrier's negligence were a link in the chain of causation? The Ninth Circuit's answer to this question in the affirmative directly conflicts with the Third and Eleventh Circuit decisions in Abramson v. Japan Airlines, Co., Ltd., 739 F.2d 130 (3dCir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1059 (1985) and Krys v. Lufthansa German Airlines, 119 F.3d 1515 (llth Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 1111 (1998), and is contrary to the Court's decision in Air France v. Saks, 470 U.S.392 (1985). CERT. GRANTED: 5/27/03 J. Breyer took no part

Olympic Airways v. Husain
ORAL ARGUMENT

November 12, 2003

Holding: affirmed
Decision: Decision: 6 votes for Husain, 2 vote(s) against
Vote: 6-2
Recused: J.,
Opinion By: Justice Clarence Thomas

Olympic Airways v. Husain
Case Documents

1Opinion in Olympic Airways v. Husain
2Slip Opinion in Olympic Airways v. Husain
3Opinion in Olympic Airways v. Husain
Additional documents for this case are pending review.