Barrick v. American Airlines, Inc

Filing 16

ORDER by Judge Benjamin H. Settle granting 13 MOTION to Reassign Case to the Seattle Division filed by American Airlines, Inc. (TG)

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1 2 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 3 4 5 REBECCA BARRICK, 6 Plaintiff, 7 v. 8 AMERICAN AIRLINES, INC., 9 CASE NO. C16-5957BHS ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR REASSIGNMENT TO THE SEATTLE DIVISION Defendant. 10 11 This matter comes before the Court on Defendant American Airlines, Inc.’s 12 (“American”) motion for reassignment to the Seattle division (Dkt. 13). 13 On October 11, 2016, Plaintiff Rebecca Barrick (“Barrick”) filed a complaint 14 against American in Pierce County Superior Court for the State of Washington. Dkt. 1-2. 15 Barrick asserts one count of negligence based on allegations that a flight attendant on her 16 American flight from Seattle to Philadelphia gave her dry ice instead of ice, which 17 resulted in a second-degree burn on her chest. Id. 18 On November 16, 2016, American removed the matter to this Court. Dkt. 1. 19 Pursuant to the local rules of procedure, the Clerk initially assigned the case to the 20 Tacoma division because the complaint was removed from Pierce County. Local Rules, 21 W.D. Wash. LCR 3(d)(1). 22 ORDER - 1 1 On December 7, 2016, American filed the instant motion requesting a transfer to 2 the Seattle division. Dkt. 13. On December 13, 2016, Barrick responded. Dkt. 14. On 3 December 28, 2016, American replied. Dkt. 15. 4 The local rules provide that assignment depends upon where defendants reside, 5 where defendants have their principal places of business, or where the claim arose. Local 6 Rules, W.D. Wash. LCR 3(d)(1). 7 In this case, the only relevant assignment criterion is where the claims arose. 8 American argues that its duty to protect Barrick arose when it accepted Barrick as a 9 passenger on its flight and she was under the care and custody of its employees. Dkt. 13 10 at 2. Barrick counters that the duty arose when she purchased the ticket from her 11 residence in Tacoma. Dkt. 14 at 2–3. The Court finds that American has presented the 12 better argument; otherwise, every time an individual purchases an airline ticket, the 13 airline would owe a duty of care relating to the personal safety of the individual. Such a 14 proposition is indefensible. Accordingly, the Court concludes that, if the events giving 15 rise to the claim arose in Washington, the events occurred in King County at Sea-Tac 16 airport. The Court GRANTS American’s motion and directs the Clerk to transfer this 17 case to the Seattle division. 18 IT IS SO ORDERED. 19 Dated this 26th day of January, 2017. 20 21 A BENJAMIN H. SETTLE United States District Judge 22 ORDER - 2

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