Pardalis & Nohavicka Travel Law Update: Lost Luggage Claim Found to be False, Airline Wins Counter-suit for Fraud
A traveler sued Southwest Airlines after they lost his luggage on a flight from New York City to Orlando, Florida. Southwest paid the vacationer $2,504.67, but the traveler, dissatisfied, claimed that the value of the contents was $8,000. Southwest counterclaimed to recover the $2,504.67, alleging that traveler had filed a false claim.
At trial, Southwest’s package services manager testified that the traveler had overstated the value of the contents of his allegedly lost luggage, noting that plaintiff had provided receipts in the sum of $9,077.83 for multiple items of clothing (e.g., eight pairs of pants, eight hats, four jackets, five pairs of sneakers, four pairs of boots, among other items), notwithstanding the fact that his stay in Florida was for less than two full days. The manager also provided evidence showing that some of the same receipts had been used by another person who had allegedly flown to Las Vegas with the traveler's son in order to substantiate a claim for lost property against United Airlines. Also, it was shown that the traveler had filed prior lost property claims with other airlines and with United Parcel Service.
The Court found in favor of Southwest and stated that the evidence supported a finding that traveler had engaged in "a pattern of asserting fraudulent claims and filing frivolous lawsuits."
Read the case here:
Gomez v. Southwest Airlines http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2017/2017_50928.htm