COURT DISMISSES POLYNESIAN AIR CRASH LAWSUIT

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (June 30, 1998 - Samoa News)---The High Court of American Samoa has granted a motion to dismiss in the Estate of Tinei V. Nickel vs. Polynesian Airlines.

"We find that the claims presented by Nickel arise from an accident that occurred during international air travel. As such, the claims are subject to the conditions and limits of the Warsaw Convention. The claims do not meet the jurisdictional requirements of article 28(1) of the Warsaw Convention, so we have no jurisdiction to hear Nickel’s claims. Polynesian’s motion to dismiss is therefore granted," stated the decision that was handed down last Friday by Associate Justices Lyle L. Richmond and Aitulagi F. Pese.

On January 5, 1998 the Estate of Tinei V. Nickel filed a complaint against Polynesian airlines for damages resulting from the death of Mrs. Nickel in the crash of a Polynesian airplane. The airplane was en route from Pago Pago, American Samoa to Apia, Samoa on January 7, 1997 when it crashed into a mountainside in Moamoa, Samoa. Mrs. Nickel and two other passengers died in the crash.

On February 9, 1998 Polynesian moved to dismiss the complaint. The hearing on the matter was held on April 13, 1998 with all counsel present.

Polynesian stated that Nickel’s claims do not meet the jurisdictional requirements of the Warsaw Convention and that, therefore, the court does not have subject matter jurisdictional over the claims.

The Warsaw Convention is a multilateral treaty that was drafted in 1929 and agreed to by the United States on June 27, 1934. It standardizes the documentation required for passengers and cargo on international flights, and establishes uniform procedures and limits regarding the potential liability of international air carriers.

The court found that Nickel’s claims, however founded, are subject to, but do not meet, the jurisdictional requirements of the convention.

"So we do not have subject matter jurisdiction over the claims," stated the decision.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to samoanews@samoatelco.com

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