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Fabiano Shoe Co. v. Alitalia Airlines - 380 F. Supp. 1400 (D. Mass. 1974)

Rule:

49 U.S.C. § 20(11) applies only to "common carriers," "railroads," and "transportation companies" subject to the provisions of 49 U.S.C. chapter 1; common carriers by air are not subject to the provisions of 49 U.S.C. chapter 1, see 49 U.S.C. § 1(1)-(3)(a) (1970); 49 U.S.C. chapter 20 (1970). Second: 49 U.S.C. § 20(11) applies only to certain shipments which originate in the United States

Facts:

The complaint alleged that 1137 pairs of boots in 43 cartons were entrusted to Alitalia Airlines (“Alitalia”) to be shipped by air from Italy to Boston, Massachusetts. The shipment arrived in Boston 17 days late. Fabiano Shoe Co (“Fabiano”) sought $4,300 damages. The complaint stated it "arises under" 49 U.S.C. § 20(11) (1970); it also is argued that the complaint stated a claim under the Warsaw Convention, 49 Stat. 3000 et seq., 49 U.S.C.A. § 1502 (1974 supplement).

Issue:

Were the claims of Fabiano on its complaint meritorious?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

The Court held that 49 U.S.C. § 20(11) is not applicable. 49 U.S.C. § 20(11) applies only to "common carriers," "railroads," and "transportation companies" subject to the provisions of 49 U.S.C. chapter 1; common carriers by air are not subject to the provisions of 49 U.S.C. chapter 1. U.S.C. § 20(11) applies only to certain shipments which originate in the United States, the complaint alleged the shipment originated in Italy. Insofar as the complaint relied on 49 U.S.C. § 20(11), it failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Since Boston was "the place of destination" of this shipment, an appropriate court in the United States may exercise jurisdiction in the international or treaty sense. The Court also held that it does not possess jurisdiction in the domestic law sense. Fabiano in its memorandum relied solely upon the Warsaw Convention, art. 28, to establish jurisdiction. Article 28 does not confer jurisdiction upon any particular court in the United States. The Convention did not confer jurisdiction in the domestic law sense but only in the international law sense. The particular domestic forums which can decide the case are determinable by reference to domestic statutes, not to the Convention. No statutory basis exists for the Court to exercise jurisdiction in the domestic law sense. Diversity jurisdiction is lacking since the defendant is of unspecified citizenship and since the amount in controversy does not exceed $10,000. 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (1970). The prerequisites for jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331(a) (1970)also are not present.

Alitalia’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction is granted and the complaint is dismissed.

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