U.S. ...Jurisdiction re Eurail Pass

Laurence Gore's picture

Court - personal jurisdiction over foreign common carrier

  In an en banc decision, with three judges dissenting, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that sale of a ticket of passage on a foreign common carrier by a US agent was sufficient to sustain personal jurisdiction over the foreign common carrier in the United States.  In the instant case, plaintiff purchased a Eurail pass from a Massachusetts travel agent, securing a reservation on the Austrian national rail company OBB Personenverkehr AG from Innsbruck to Prague.  The plaintiff alleged that when she attempted to board the train, the doors closed and the train moved forward, causing her to slip from the platform onto the tracks.  The moving train crushed her legs.  The Republic of Austria contended, along with asserting sovereign immunity, that it did not do business in the United States.  The court held that the Eurail pass sold specifically to the plaintiff created an exclusive relationship between OBB and the plaintiff, establishing personal jurisdiction.  Sachs v. Republic of Austria, No 11-15458 (9tth Cir., December 6, 2013).

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