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Dalton v. Delta Airlines
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
570 F.2d 1244 (1978)
Patrick Dalton (plaintiff) shipped five greyhound racing dogs from Ireland to Miami. The dogs arrived in Boston and spent the night in a kennel there. The next day, the dogs were loaded onto an airplane bound for Miami that was operated by Delta Airlines, Inc. (Delta) (defendant). Due to Delta’s negligence, the dogs suffocated during the flight and were dead by the time the flight arrived in Miami. Twenty days later, Dalton made a written complaint to Delta about the dogs’ death. Dalton then sued Delta, bringing a claim under the Warsaw Convention for $60,000 for the loss of the dogs. Dalton filed the lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations allowed by the Warsaw Convention. However, Delta argued that Dalton’s claims were barred because his initial notice was untimely. The district court found that (1) Article 26(3) of the Warsaw Convention required a shipper or recipient to complain about damage to shipped goods within seven days to preserve the right to sue the carrier for the damage and (2) Dalton’s claim was barred because he made his first written complaint 20 days after the loss. Accordingly, the district court granted summary judgment to Delta. Dalton appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Brown, C.J.)
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