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Dooley v. Korean Air Lines Co.

524 U.S. 116, 118 S.Ct. 1890, 141 L.Ed.2d 102, 1998 AMC 1940 (1998)

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Dooley v. Korean Air Lines Co.

United States Supreme Court

524 U.S. 116, 118 S.Ct. 1890, 141 L.Ed.2d 102, 1998 AMC 1940 (1998)

Facts

Korean Air Lines Co. (KAL) (defendant) Flight KE007 was en route from Alaska to South Korea when it strayed into the airspace of the Soviet Union. The Soviet military fired a missile into the plane, shooting it down over the Sea of Japan and killing all 269 people on board. Dooley (plaintiff) was the personal representative of three of the passengers and filed a suit in federal court against KAL, one of the many lawsuits that arose from the incident. Among other claims, Dooley sought damages for the pre-death pain and suffering experienced by the victims between the time of the missile strike and their deaths. After a trial, the jury found that KAL had committed willful misconduct and awarded both pecuniary damages and a multi-million-dollar punitive-damages award. The court of appeals upheld the decision but vacated the punitive-damages award. Dooley appealed. While this case was proceeding, the United States Supreme Court held in Zicherman v. Korean Air Lines Co. that the governing statute for the deaths of the victims on Flight KE007 was the Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA).

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

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