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Boyette v. Trans World Airlines, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Missouri
954 S.W.2d 350 (1997)


Joseph Rutherford and three co-workers flew on Trans World Express (TWE) from Memphis, Tennessee to Sioux City, Iowa, with a layover in St. Louis, Missouri. Prior to and during the flight to St. Louis, Rutherford consumed several alcoholic drinks and became intoxicated. After deplaning onto the tarmac in St. Louis, Rutherford passed under a yellow rope marking a restricted area and climbed onto an idling luggage tug. Britney Callier, a TWE gate agent, radioed for assistance from airport security. Upon hearing that airport security had been summoned, Rutherford climbed down and made his way into the terminal where he stole a golf cart and began driving around the gate area. Callier chased Rutherford on foot and cornered him in an alcove. Rutherford eluded Callier by going through an unlocked cleaning room. The room had a small door leading to a trash chute that was connected to a trash compactor ten feet below. Once the weight of the trash was detected by the machine it crushed, or compacted, the material. Rutherford fell down the trash chute, into the trash compactor, and was subsequently crushed and killed. Patricia Boyette (plaintiff), mother of Rutherford, filed a wrongful-death suit against Callier, TWE, and its parent company, Trans World Airlines, Inc. (defendants). Boyette argued that the defendants acted negligently when Callier chased Rutherford through the concourse. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants. Boyette appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Pudlowski, J.)

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