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Gorham v. JetBlue Airways Corp., et al.

In 2012, the New York Supreme Court of Queens County granted our motion for summary judgment on behalf of JetBlue. Plaintiff Gorham brought an action for personal injuries allegedly sustained when she tripped and fell walking around a food kiosk in JetBlue Terminal at JFK Airport. Plaintiff claimed that she fell on rubber pallets while carrying her food to her seat. We moved for summary judgment on the ground that there was no incident report regarding the alleged pallets and that there was no evidence that JetBlue caused the pallets to be on the floor or had actual/constructive knowledge of them.

The Court granted JetBlue’s motion for summary judgment, noting that Plaintiff’s own testimony indicated that the pallets first appeared while she was ordering her lunch. The Court noted that a “5-10 minute window” from the time of the creation of the condition to the time of the accident was not sufficient to establish liability.


U.S. Specialty Insurance Co. v. LeBeau, Inc., et al.

In February 2012, the United States District Court for the Western District of New York granted our motion for partial summary judgment on behalf of USSIC. The action stems from personal injuries sustained when a pedestrian was struck and seriously injured by a motor vehicle that was driven in proximity to an air show being held in the city of Rochester, NY. The injured party filed an action against LeBeau, the manager and producer of the air show, inter alia, alleging that the parties’ negligence in controlling vehicular traffic during the air show resulted in his injuries. LeBeau had procured insurance through our client USSIC, with Monroe County and the County Airport Authority named as additional insureds.

After the action was commenced, USSIC denied coverage due to an auto exclusion in the policy. On behalf of USSIC, we brought a declaratory judgment action, arguing that the policy did not cover the personal injuries and that USSIC had no duty to defend or indemnify. The Court agreed with our position that the policy’s auto exclusion was clear and unambiguous. Concluding that there was no “reasonable possibility of coverage”, the Court found that USSIC had no duty to defend or indemnify.


Gunter v. JetBlue Airways

In 2013, the New York Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the order of the New York Supreme Court of New York County granting JetBlue’s motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff Gunter brought an action for personal injuries allegedly sustained while boarding a JetBlue aircraft. She alleged that she slipped on “icy wet dirt” that was present on the floor of the aircraft at the time she boarded. Granting summary judgment in favor of JetBlue, the Court held that defendant’s employees had neither actual nor constructive notice of the slippery floor condition. The Court also found that JetBlue was not under a duty to “provide a constant remedy” to rain or snow being tracked into the aircraft during inclement weather.


Griffin v. JetBlue

Summary judgment for JetBlue was granted in another slip-and-fall case filed in the Queens County Supreme Court. In Griffin v. JetBlue, Plaintiff brought an action against the airline, alleging personal injuries sustained when she slipped and fell in the JetBlue terminal at LaGuardia International Airport. The state court dismissed plaintiff’s case, concluding that the area where plaintiff fell was not subleased to JetBlue and that the airline had no duty to maintain, clean or inspect that area.


Mateo v. JetBlue

Earlier this year, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of JetBlue on the grounds of preemption. Plaintiff Mateo brought an action for personal injuries sustained while disembarking a JetBlue aircraft. Due to a physical disability, plaintiff needed assistance disembarking the aircraft. A JetBlue employee allegedly carried Plaintiff down the exit stairs but dropped him down the final steps. We removed the action to federal court on preemption grounds and moved for summary judgment. We argued that plaintiff’s claims were governed by the Montreal Convention and should be dismissed because they were brought outside of the Convention’s two-year limitations period. Plaintiff argued that the federal court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and sought remand to state court. The federal court granted JetBlue’s motion for summary judgment, concluding, inter alia, that the Montreal Convention completely preempted plaintiff’s state-law claims, which were time-barred.