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In re Korean Air Lines Disaster of September 1, 1983

829 F.2d 1171 (1987)

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In re Korean Air Lines Disaster of September 1, 1983

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

829 F.2d 1171 (1987)

Facts

On September 1, 1983, Korean Airlines Flight 007 was destroyed over the Sea of Japan by the Soviet Union. After wrongful-death lawsuits were filed against Korean Airlines (defendants) in federal district courts across the country, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred the cases to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for pretrial proceedings pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1407. The Warsaw Agreement and the subsequent Montreal Agreement of 1966 (collectively, the treaties), international treaties regulating liability for injuries received during air travel, limited damages to $75,000 per passenger. Those seeking damages against Korean Airlines (plaintiffs) filed a motion for partial summary judgment, arguing that damages should not be limited to $75,000, because Korean Airlines failed to adequately notify its customers about the liability limitation imposed by the treaties. The Montreal Agreement required airlines to print liability-limitation notices in 10-point font, but Korean Airlines printed its notices in 8-point font. The district court denied the motion for summary judgment and held that the liability limitation applied to Korean Airlines. In doing so, the district court ruled contrary to Second Circuit precedent. The plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the Second Circuit precedent should be applied because some of the claims were first brought in district courts within the Second Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)

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