Air Transport World

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"Difficult cases make bad law," an old legal axiom states. But there's an exception to every rule and last fall the airline and aerospace industries were on the winning side of the exception. The case of West Caribbean Airways S.A., et al., may be little known outside of a small circle of aviation legal professionals, but the decision, if upheld on plaintiffs' appeal, will make it very difficult for non-US citizens to bring legal action in US courts following an air disaster.

The lawsuit arose out of the Aug. 16, 2005, crash in Venezuela of West Caribbean Airways Flight 708. All 160 people onboard the chartered MD-80 were killed in the disaster, which occurred while the jet was en route from Panama to French Martinique. …

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