PITTSBURGH - A US Airways flight headed to Phoenix made an emergency landing in Pittsburgh after a dog on board bit a passenger and a flight attendant.
US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher says the flight left Newark, N.J., on Monday morning. Lehmacher says a passenger carrying a dog let the animal out of its carrier and it bit a passenger and flight attendant.
The severity of the bites was not known. Lehmacher says the pilot decided to land in Pittsburgh to make sure everyone was OK.
Lehmacher says the airline hoped to get the passengers to Phoenix as soon as possible.
Lehmacher says US Airways allows passengers to carry certain pets if they are secured in approved carriers and kept under their seats.
These kind of stories happen more often than one would think. You should feel comfortable and safe while you are on an airplane taking a trip to your destination when something like this happens.
Who is ultimately responsible for the animal getting loose and biting two people while on a flight? Who might have liability here? In addition, which state has jurisdiction while a plane is in the air?
A person is subject to being sued (generally) in a state where 1) he has business contacts or 2) he causes an incident to occur. If the dog owner and the “bitees” are from the same state, then a claim can be brought there.
What of the dog owner is from NJ, and the “bitees” from AZ? Can a lawsuit be filed against the dog owner in AZ? Depends. We know the dog owner was on the way to AZ with the dog. What other business interests or contacts does the doig owner have in AZ? These questions need to be answered.
Also, which State’s law applies? AZ has strict liability laws for dog bite. Does NJ? Assume the contacts exist for the claim to be brought here, is it possible that the laws of NJ apply instead of AZ?
What about US Airways? Should they have let the dog on board? Any liability there?
This is tricky and complicated stuff. What seemed fairly straightforward before you read this blog, now has you scratching your head. This is why we have attorneys. They can be extremely helpful in a case like this.
Happy Holidays everyone!