Public Citizen to U.S. Supreme Court: Let Passenger Pursue Contract Claim for Being Kicked Out of Elite Frequent Flyer Program

Sept. 13, 2013

Public Citizen to U.S. Supreme Court: Let Passenger Pursue Contract Claim for Being Kicked Out of Elite Frequent Flyer Program

Northwest Abruptly Terminated Minnesotan’s Membership Status

A Minnesota man whose membership status in Northwest Airlines’ frequent flyer program was abruptly terminated should be able to challenge Northwest’s decision in court, Public Citizen will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court in December.

Public Citizen represents Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg before the Supreme Court and filed its brief with the court on Thursday. The airline claims it has complete discretion to kick people out of its frequent flyer program.

The question before the court is whether the Airline Deregulation Act pre-empts Ginsberg’s contract claim based on the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The answer is no, according to Supreme Court precedent, Public Citizen says in its brief.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Ginsberg could pursue his claim. Northwest then sought review by the Supreme Court.

“The Airline Deregulation Act does not give airlines free rein to breach the obligation to perform their contracts in good faith.” said Adina Rosenbaum, the Public Citizen attorney who will argue the case before the Supreme Court in December. “Moreover, claims that are about membership in a frequent flyer program are not sufficiently related to air travel to be pre-empted.”

To read today’s brief and other information about the case, please visit https://www.citizen.org/our-work/litigation/cases/northwest-v-ginsberg.

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