Olympic Airways v. Husain, 540 U.S. 644, 5 (2004)

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Opinion of the Court

business class, but Ms. Leptourgou refused to provide any assistance.2

About two hours into the flight, the smoking noticeably increased in the rows behind Dr. Hanson. Dr. Hanson asked respondent for a new inhaler because the one he had been using was empty. Dr. Hanson then moved toward the front of the plane to get some fresher air. While he was leaning against a chair near the galley area, Dr. Hanson gestured to respondent to get his emergency kit. Respondent returned with it and gave him a shot of epinephrine. She then awoke Dr. Umesh Sabharwal, an allergist, with whom Dr. Hanson and respondent had been traveling. Dr. Sabharwal gave Dr. Hanson another shot of epinephrine and began to administer CPR and oxygen. Dr. Hanson died shortly thereafter.3 Id., at 1128.

Respondents filed a wrongful-death suit in California state court. Petitioner removed the case to federal court, and the District Court found petitioner liable for Dr. Hanson's death. The District Court held that Ms. Leptourgou's refusal to re-seat Dr. Hanson constituted an "accident" within the meaning of Article 17. Applying Saks' definition of that term, the court reasoned that the flight attendant's conduct was external to Dr. Hanson and, because it was in "blatant disregard of industry standards and airline policies," was not expected or usual. 116 F. Supp. 2d, at 1134.

The Ninth Circuit affirmed. Applying Saks' definition of "accident," the Ninth Circuit agreed that the flight attendant's refusal to reseat Dr. Hanson "was clearly external to

2 Dr. Hanson and respondent did not know at the time that, despite Ms. Leptourgou's representations, the flight was actually not full. There were 11 unoccupied passenger seats, most of which were in economy class, and 28 "non-revenue passengers," 15 of whom were seated in economy class rows farther away from the smoking section than Dr. Hanson's seat. 116 F. Supp. 2d, at 1126.

3 For religious reasons, no autopsy was performed to determine the cause of death.

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