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Eastern Airlines, Inc. v. Floyd

499 U.S. 530 (1991)

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Eastern Airlines, Inc. v. Floyd

United States Supreme Court

499 U.S. 530 (1991)

Facts

A flight operated by Eastern Airlines, Inc. (defendant) from Miami to the Bahamas experienced engine failure. The crew told the passengers that the plane would have to land in the ocean. After a period of rapid descent, the crew was able to regain control of the plane and land safely. The passengers were not physically injured. Floyd and other passengers (plaintiffs) sued Eastern for mental distress, under Article 17 of the Warsaw Convention. The Warsaw Convention was written in French, providing liability for “lésion corporelle.” When it ratified the Warsaw Convention, the U.S. Senate translated the text to provide for liability “in the event of the death or wounding of a passenger or any other bodily injury suffered by a passenger.” The district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ complaint, holding that the Warsaw Convention did not provide relief for mental distress. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)

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