The Viability of Claims Related to Deep Vein Thrombosis under the Warsaw Convention

The author of this article (Paragraph No. 35, 301) examines claims brought against airlines pursuant to the Warsaw Convention arising out of passenger injury or death as the result of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Included in the article is a cursory look at the medical science related to DVT, an analysis of treaty liability for the types of claims being asserted as the result of DVT injury or death, a review of recent rulings in DVT cases (both U.S. and international), and finally, an examination of relevant pending cases on appeal and before the U.S. Supreme Court. The author analyzes the types of claims being asserted in recent DVT cases, and notes that plaintiffs have shifted their attacks away from allegation related to seat configuration and design to claims involving airline failure to warn and failure to comply with internal policy or industry custom and practice. The posture of the parties appears consistent with a shift in positions between injured plaintiffs and the airline industry as a result of the Supreme Court's 1999 ruling in El Al Israel Airlines, Inc. v. Tseng, 525 U.S. 155 (1999). The article examines the arguments for and against finding an "accident" under the Warsaw Convention for DVT injuries. The airlines argue that the accident is not the manifestation of DVT. Rather, it is the airlines' failure to comply with normal, expected, industry-standard procedures in failing to warn of the risks of DVT. The author notes an increasing acceptance of the airlines' position internationally, while, in the U.S., plaintiffs have met with some limited success in having their claims survive the airlines' motions to dismiss. The Supreme Court will issue an opinion this year in the case, Olympic Airlines v. Husain, No. 02-1348 (cert. granted May 27, 2003), which almost certainly will be of precedential value in future DVT rulings. Because Husain involves allegations that the airline failed to comply with its own policies and industry standards, the Supreme Court's decision may influence all future litigation involving DVT claims and allegations of failure to warn or to comply with internal policies and industry standards.

  • Corporate Authors:

    International Aviation Law Institute

    DePaul University College of Law, 25 E Jackson Boulevard
    Chicago, IL  United States  60604
  • Authors:
    • Easton, John
  • Publication Date: 2004


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Edition: Transfer Binder 1: 2001 to 2004
  • Pagination: pp 22241-22255
  • Monograph Title: Issues in Aviation Law and Policy

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01150736
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 17 2010 10:57AM