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Northwest v. Ginsberg

Close Date: 04/02/2014
Topic(s): Preemption of Consumer Remedies
Docket: 12-462
Court: Select Court

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In 2005, Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg, a long-time customer of Northwest, earned the highest level of membership benefits in Northwest’s customer loyalty program. In 2008, Northwest abruptly terminated his membership status in the program, claiming it could do so in its sole discretion. Rabbi Ginsberg filed suit, alleging, among other things, that their termination of his membership status was a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The district court held that his claim was preempted by a provision of the Airline Deregulation Act (ADA) that preempts state laws relating to air carrier prices, routes, or services. The Ninth Circuit reversed. When Northwest petitioned for Supreme Court review, Rabbi Ginsberg retained Public Citizen to represent him. The Court granted review, however, and held in favor of the airline.