Lee v. American Airlines, Inc. 3:01-CV-1179-P (N.D. Tex. Jul. 2, 2002)


No summary of facts drafted yet for this case.


Are damages for mental anguish, distress and associated inconvenience arising from delay recoverable under the Warsaw Convention?


Because the Warsaw Convention is premised upon a “contract” between the passenger and the airline, courts permit recovery of economic damages arising out of the delay itself (i.e. rental, hotel accommodation, taxis, etc.) under Article 19. See Pakistan Arts and Entertainment Corp., 660 N.Y.S.2d at 743; Tory A. Weigand, supra, at 188.

Plaintiff acknowledges that damages for emotional distress, absent physical injury, are not available under the Warsaw Convention. (Pl.’s Resp. at 8.) Yet Plaintiff argues that the damages he seeks to recover, which he terms “inconvenience damages,” can be quantified and are a type of economic loss. (Id. at 9-10.)

The Court need not, and does not, determine as a matter of law whether “inconvenience” damages are recoverable. Instead, the Court must determine whether Plaintiffs damages for “inconvenience,” as pled in his Complaint, fall under the rubric of “mental injuries,” which are not recoverable. In this case, Plaintiffs inconvenience allegations arise from the discomfort, annoyance, and irritation Plaintiff and the other passengers suffered as a result of their delay. Plaintiff seeks damages for the inconvenience associated with (1) having to remain in the holding area without adequate food, water, restroom facilities, and information; (2) having to stay in a substandard motel; (3) having to “be subjected” to misinformation about the flight status, (4) having to obtain alternative means of transportation; and (5) losing out on a refreshing, memorable vacation. The damages arising from this inconvenience are not easily quantifiable and do not result in real economic losses. Plaintiff has merely recharacterized his mental anguish damages as “inconvenience” damages. Even the Daniel case — the case Plaintiff relies on throughout his argument — recognizes that to be recoverable, the “inconvenience” damages must “encompass economic damages.” Daniel, 59 F. Supp.2d at 992.

Because the damages described in Plaintiffs Complaint as “inconvenience” damages amount to damages for mental injuries, the Court hereby GRANTS American’s Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings.

Useful for

Mental anguish damages not recoverable for delay

Treaty provisions considered

Article 19 WC29

Warsaw Convention 1929

Legislation considered

None identified.