Airline summary judgment motion denied in personal injury case

Kirkham v. Societe Air France (D.D.C. Jan. 10, 2007).  While being guided through Orly Airport to her Air France flight by a person she believed to be an Air France employee, the plaintiff was struck by a luggage cart and suffered permanent ankle injuries.  She brought a negligence action against the airline.

The airline moved for summary judgment on the grounds that it owed no duty of care to the plaintiff because no reasonable trier of fact could conclude that the guide was an Air France employee.  Apparently, the only evidence in the case suggesting that the guide was an Air France employee was the plaintiff’s deposition testimony.

In its ruling on the summary judgment motion, the court noted that the plaintiff had testified at her deposition that the guide had been dressed in a blue uniform that “carried the Air France insignia” and that he had been standing at an Air France counter.  The court held that summary judgment was improper because the plaintiff’s deposition testimony created a genuine issue of material fact as to the guide’s employment status.

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