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Boyette v. Trans World Airlines, Inc.

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Boyette filed a wrongful death suit against Trans World Airlines, Inc. after her son became intoxicated on an airplane and evaded airport security by jumping into a trash chute, ultimately leading to his death.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A common carrier is relieved of the duty of protecting passengers once the passengers reach a place of safety.

    Facts.

    Rutherford became intoxicated after flying on Trans World Express (Trans) with three co-workers. When getting off the plane, Rutherford went into a restricted area and climbed onto a luggage tug. When Rutherford found out that airport security was called on him, Rutherford went to the terminal and stole a gold cart. Callier, a trans agent, chased Rutherford into a cleaning room where Rutherford slipped into a trash chute and was subsequently crushed and killed. Boyette, Rutherford’s mother, filed a wrongful death suit and the trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants.

    Issue.

    Whether a common carrier is relieved of the duty of protecting passengers once the passengers reach a place of safety?

    Held.

    Yes. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. Trans’ duty to Rutherford ended once Rutherford reached the tarmac.

    Discussion.

    A common carrier is relieved of the duty of protecting passengers once the passengers reach a place of safety.


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