Wednesday, February 24, 2010


NYLJ 5-25-07


3. At first notice, when people hear about the Warsaw Convention, they think it should lie somewhere between the Geneva Convention and the Warsaw Pact. That this is the ruling principle which governs venues for trail and limits damage award with respect to international flights is something none of us hopes to even be concerned with…nor would we ever wish to know. It would mean that we faced injury while in the care of organizations so inhumane and unfeeling as to rival the worst actions of the East Germany’s STASI or the Tsar’s Chekha.

This is why Mr. Bunis wanted to bring his case to Brooklyn when he began to suffer a low-grade heart attack as the Israir flight reached the gate at Kennedy (which would have to be a further stretch as the airport is in Queens). Under the aforesaid law, the most he could have hoped to realize would be $75,000, which, after taxes and counsel fees, wouldn’t be more than a third, and, seeing as how Brooklyn is only second to Da Bronx in its reputation as a plaintiff’s cash register…well, you can see the venal aspect, in any event.

However, what people really would like to know is if the employee who was supposed to get the wheelchair was fired or promoted. That is, anybody with an innate grind for the airlines.

But not the federal judge. Her only concern was, as it should be, the Law. And every time the pilot gives you that good-ol’-boy unctuous bit of Right-Stuff aside and reminds you not to unbuckle until the plane has come to a complete stop at the terminal gate, it should be a reminder that he IS the captain of this ship until that last moment you step off the treads of the skyway corridor. Mr. Bunis might have wanted it another way, but that’s all she—the judge—wrote.

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