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Andrews v. United Airlines

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
24 F.3d 39 (9th Cir. 1994)


Facts

Andrews (plaintiff) was a passenger onboard a flight operated by United Airlines (United) (defendant). A briefcase was placed in the overhead bin above Andrews’ seat. After landing, an unknown person opened the bin and caused the briefcase to fall on Andrews. Andrews suffered injury and brought suit against United for negligence on the ground that the injury was foreseeable and the airline failed to prevent it. At trial, Andrews presented two expert witnesses. The first stated that one hundred thirty-five similar incidents had occurred on United flights, and that United had responded by adding a “warning announcement.” The second witness testified that United could have taken additional steps to prevent the danger to its passengers, such as retrofitting its overhead bins with baggage nets or requiring passengers to store only lightweight items overhead. This witness stated that such actions could be taken without significant cost to United or increased inconvenience to its passengers. The district court granted summary judgment for United, and Andrews appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Kozinski, C.J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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