The parties to the case
The parties to the case are Olympic Airways and Rubina Husain.
The citation of the case
540 US 644 (2004)
The basic facts of the case
Abid Hanson and his wife, Rubina Husain, embarked on an Olympic Airways flight and sat in the non-smoking area due to Hanson’s allergy to second-hand smoke. However, the non-smoking seats were close to the smoking area, and Hanson has repeatedly asked to be moved further away. The request was denied twice, which ultimately led to Hanson passing away during the flight. Husain filed a lawsuit against the airline, and the court later agreed that Hanson’s death was an accident, awarding the plaintiff $1,400,00 (Oyez, 2004).
Dr. Hanson’s estate argument
Hanson’s estate argued that the death was an accident, which directly correlates with the policy that the airline covers damages for accidents on airplanes. Moreover, based on the Warsaw Convention regulations, the airline is, indeed, responsible for the accidents that take place on aircraft.
Olympic Air’s argument
Olympic Air has argued that the aircraft operated in a regular manner and that the death was caused by Hussain’s chronic condition rather than the condition or treatment on the aircraft. Thus, the narrative was centered around the notion that the airline cannot be responsible for one’s reaction to policies that are put in place on a company level, such as the presence of smoking areas in aircraft.
The court decision
The court decided in favor of Husain and acknowledged that the failure to assist Hanson based on his medical needs does, indeed, illustrate that the death was an accident. The decision was based on the fact that the events could have been prevented, and failure to do so, exemplified by the flight attendant, created circumstances in which the accident occurred.
The law applied by the court
The court applied the statutory law from the Warsaw Convention.
Oyez. (2004). Olympic Airways v. Husain. Oyez.