Not a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Klos v. Polskie Linie Lotnicze

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

October 1, 1997, Argued ; December 8, 1997, Decided

Docket No. 97-7073

Opinion

 [*166]  McLaughlin, Circuit Judge:

LOT Airlines appeals from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Nickerson, J.) awarding plaintiffs $ 75,000 per decedent in their wrongful death action. LOT Airlines argues that the district court erred when it failed to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  [**2]  We agree and, therefore, reverse.

BACKGROUND

Polskie Linie Lotnicze, also known as LOT Polish Airlines ("LOT"), is the state-owned and operated official airline of the Republic of Poland. In the spring of 1987, Stanislaw Klos, Waclaw Wojewodski and Rozalia Wojewodzski ("decedents"), all citizens and residents of Poland, boarded LOT flight no. 5055 in Warsaw bound for New York City. While all three decedents boarded the flight with round-trip tickets from Warsaw to New York, plaintiffs claim that not one of them intended to return to Warsaw. Instead, plaintiffs claim, decedents intended to flee Communist Poland and start a new life in the United States. Unfortunately, the plane crashed just outside Warsaw. All passengers were killed.

Decedents' surviving relatives ("plaintiffs"), along with the surviving relatives of other victims of the crash, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against LOT and others in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Nickerson, J.). The parties agreed that the action was governed by the Warsaw Convention.

LOT moved to dismiss the action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. LOT argued that plaintiffs could not satisfy [**3]  any of the four grounds set forth in the Warsaw Convention conferring jurisdiction upon a court. The district court denied the motion, finding that the court had subject matter jurisdiction under the fourth ground provided in the treaty.

The district court certified its ruling for immediate appeal, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), but we denied LOT's application for interlocutory review on December 19, 1995. To expedite proceedings and to obtain an appealable final judgment, plaintiffs and LOT agreed to resolve the action by stipulation. The court entered judgment against LOT and awarded plaintiffs $ 75,000 per decedent.

Read The Full CaseNot a Lexis Advance subscriber? Try it out for free.

Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.

133 F.3d 164 *; 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 34371 **

STEFANIA KLOS, Personal Representative of the Estate of Stanislaw Klos, Deceased; JOLANTA SAWICKI, Personal Representative of the Estates of Waclaw Wojewodzski, Deceased, and Rozalia Wojewodzski, Deceased, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. POLSKIE LINIE LOTNICZE, aka LOT Polish Airlines, Defendant-Appellant, ESTATE OF ZYGMUNT PAWLACZYK; ESTATE OF LEOPOLD KARCHER; UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS; MINISTRY OF THE AVIATION INDUSTRY OF THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT; AVIAEXPORT; KAZAN AVIATION PLANT; SOLOVIEV AVIATION & ENGINE MANUFACTURING CO., LTD., INC.; FOREIGN CORPS. & FOREIGN CITIZENS, Defendants.

Prior History:  [**1]  LOT Airlines appeals from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Nickerson, J.) awarding plaintiffs $ 75,000 per decedent in their wrongful death action. LOT Airlines argues that the district court erred when it failed to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We agree and, therefore, reverse.

Disposition: REVERSED and REMANDED.

CORE TERMS

ticket, round-trip, district court, parties, adhesion contract, final destination, transportation, passenger, one-way, destination, subject matter jurisdiction, Air, Airlines

Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, General Overview, International Law, Dispute Resolution, Remedies, Damages, Transportation Law, Air & Space Transportation, Warsaw Convention, Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction, Contracts Law, Contract Interpretation, Ambiguities & Contra Proferentem, Business & Corporate Compliance, Contracts Law, Types of Contracts, Adhesion Contracts, Defenses, Unconscionability, Affirmative Defenses, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Contract Conditions & Provisions