United States District Court, E.D. New York
ELECTRONIC OR PRINT PUBLICATION
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
R. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Muhammad Sultan Mughal brought this negligence action for
damages from injuries Mughal allegedly sustained on March 31,
2011 after he slipped and fell in a lavatory of a transit
lounge in the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore,
Pakistan. See Plaintiff's Verified Complaint
(“Compl.”), Ex. A, Def.'s Statememt of
Undisputed Facts Pursuant to Local Civil R. 56.1
(“Def.'s 56.1 Stmt.”), ECF No. 38-1.
Defendant Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIA)
has moved for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56 on the ground that plaintiff's action
is time-barred under Article 35 of the Montreal Convention,
which PIA contends governs this action, because plaintiff
filed his complaint more than two years after the alleged
incident. Def.'s Mem. of Law in Supp. of Def.'s Mot.
for Summ. J. (“Def.'s Mot.”) 1, ECF No. 39.
For the reasons stated below, I grant PIA's motion.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
following facts are undisputed. On March 31, 2011, plaintiff
allegedly slipped and fell in a lavatory in the Allama Iqbal
International Airport in Lahore, Pakistan while waiting for a
connecting flight. See Def.'s 56.1 Stmt. ¶
2. When plaintiff fell, he was a ticketed passenger on PIA
Flights PK 681 and 723 from Islamabad, Pakistan to New York,
New York via Lahore, Pakistan on March 30 to 31, 2011.
Id. ¶ 1. PIA owned the airline, including the
transit lounge, where PIA directed plaintiff to stay while
waiting for his connecting flight. Compl. ¶ 18. As a
result of the incident, plaintiff claims that he sustained
injuries to his brain, head, right ribs, and right wrist.
Def.'s 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 3. He allegedly received medical
treatment at three medical facilities between March 31, 2011
and June 11, 2011, including Mount Sinai Hospital, Bellevue
Hospital, and Sunrise Manor Center for Nursing. Id.
March 27, 2014, plaintiff filed a summons and verified
complaint in the Supreme Court of the State of New York,
County of Queens. Id. ¶ 5. On April 18, 2014,
PIA removed this action to this Court “on the grounds
that PIA is a ‘foreign state, ' and this Court has
original jurisdiction to hear claims against a foreign
state.” Def.'s Mot. 2. On October 22, 2015, PIA
filed its motion for summary judgment, contending that
plaintiff's action is time-barred under the Montreal
Convention because plaintiff “failed to commence an
action within two years from the date of his arrival, the
date on which he ought to have arrived, or the date on which
carriage stopped.” Id. In response, plaintiff
argues that New York law governs this action and that, under
New York law, plaintiff's brain injury tolls the
Convention's two-year time limitation. Pl.'s Mot. in
Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. (“Pl.'s
Opp'n”) 1-2, ECF No. 41.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is
appropriate when “there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A “genuine
dispute” exists for the purposes of summary judgment
“where the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could decide in the non-movant's favor.” Beyer
v. Cty. of Nassau, 524 F.3d 160, 163 (2d Cir. 2008). In
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, I “must
‘construe the facts in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and must resolve all ambiguities and draw
all reasonable inferences against the movant.'”
Id. (quoting Dallas Aerospace, Inc. v. CIS Air
Corp., 352 F.3d 775, 780 (2d Cir. 2003)).
The Montreal Convention exclusively governs this
argues that the Montreal Convention exclusively governs
plaintiff's claims and preempts all state claims.
See Def.'s Mot. 4. Plaintiff argues that New
York law should apply because plaintiff filed his case in New
York Supreme Court before defendant removed to federal court.
See Pl.'s Opp'n 1-2. Defendant is correct.
Montreal Convention, to which the United States became a
party in 2003 and Pakistan became a party in 2007,
applies to “all international carriage of persons,
baggage or cargo performed by aircraft for reward.”
Montreal Convention art. 1(1). International carriage is
defined as “any carriage in which, according to the
agreement between the parties, the place of departure and the
place of destination . . . are situated either within the
territories of two State Parties, or within the territory of
a single State Party if there is an agreed stopping place
within the territory of another state . . . .”
Id. at art. 1(2). With respect to “the
carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo, ” the
Montreal Convention applies to “any action for damages,
however founded, whether under this Convention or in contract
or in tort or otherwise . . . .” Id. at art.
treaty of the United States, the Montreal Convention
“is the supreme law of the land.” Best v.
BWIA W. Indies Airways Ltd., 581 F.Supp.2d 359, 362
(E.D.N.Y. 2008) (citing Commercial Union Ins. Co. v.
Alitalia Airlines, S.p.A., 347 F.3d 448, 456-57 (2d Cir.
2003)). Like the Warsaw Convention that it succeeded,
Montreal Convention preempts state law claims falling within
its scope. See Mateo v. JetBlue Airways Corp., 847
F.Supp.2d 383, 386-87 (E.D.N.Y. 2012) (“[T]he Montreal
Convention is the exclusive means of redressing injuries that
fall within its purview.”) (citing King v. American
Airlines, Inc., 284 F.3d 352, 356-57 (2d Cir. 2002));
see also El Al Israel Airlines, Ltd. V. Tsui Yuan
Tseng, 525 U.S. 155, 161 (1999) (“We . . . hold
that recovery for a personal injury suffered ‘on board
[an] aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of
embarking or disembarking' . . ., if not allowed under
the [Warsaw] Convention, is not available at all.”);
In re Nigeria Charter Flights Contract Litig., 520
F.Supp.2d 447, 453 (E.D.N.Y. 2007) (explaining that because
the “preemptive language” in the Warsaw and
Montreal Conventions are “substantially similar,
” they have “‘substantially the same
preemptive effect'”) (quoting Paradis v. Ghana
Airways Ltd., 384 F.Supp.2d 106, 111 (S.D.N.Y. 2004)).
17 of the Convention addresses liability for injury to
passengers. It states: “The carrier is liable for
damages sustained in case of death or bodily injury of a
passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused
the death or injury took place on board the aircraft or in
the course of any of the operations of embarking or
disembarking.” Montreal Convention art. 17(1). Where
passengers have suffered injuries in locations under an
airline's control or direction, courts have found that
Article 17 of the Convention governed their claims. See,
e.g., Rajcooar v. Air India Ltd., 89 F.Supp.2d
324, 327-28 (E.D.N.Y. 2000) (finding that Article 17 of the
Warsaw Convention exclusively governed the claim of a
passenger who, during a layover, suffered a heart attack in a
transit lounge in which he was directed to stay until his
connecting flight was called); Alleyn v. Port Auth. Of
N.Y. & N.J., 58 F.Supp.2d 15, 21-22 ...