Rao v. Era Alaska Airlines

22 F. Supp. 3d 529 (2014)

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Rao v. Era Alaska Airlines

United States District Court for the District of Maryland
22 F. Supp. 3d 529 (2014)

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Facts

Maryland residents Vijai Rao and Sumathi Mathur (plaintiffs) used Expedia.com, a travel website, to purchase tickets for a flight from Kodiak, Alaska, to Anchorage, Alaska, on Era Alaska Airlines (Era) (defendant). After the flight, Rao and Mathur noticed that a case containing valuable jewelry and cash was missing. Rao and Mathur sued Era and Era’s president, Bob Hadjukovich (defendant), in federal district court in Maryland, asserting various tort claims. Era and Hadjukovich moved to dismiss, arguing that the Maryland-based court lacked personal jurisdiction over Hadjukovich, an Alaska resident, and Era, an Alaska airline offering flights only within Alaska and advertising only within Alaska. The district court denied the motion but allowed limited discovery to determine whether Hadjukovich and Era had sufficient contacts with Maryland to support personal jurisdiction. Thereafter, Rao and Mathur sought to amend their complaint to include facts showing that Era used Sabre, a company that facilitated online bookings by individuals through sites like Expedia.com, and that Sabre had a Maryland office. Hadjukovich and Era opposed that motion and renewed their motion to dismiss.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Grimm, J.)

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