Judge In Airline Lawsuit Just Wants To Know Where His Bags Are
judge may have brought a little too much baggage to the case.
A British judge hearing a complex
and long-running price-fixing case involving BA has agreed to step down from
the case after making it personal by demanding that the airline tell him what
it had done with his lost luggage.
Court Justice Peter Smith, confronting representatives of the airline in his
courtroom, found himself in the perfect position to demand answers over how the
airline had mislaid his bags.
airline’s lawyers objected to the question and refused to answer, likely
considering it irrelevant to the case at hand, if not wholly improper. The
judge responded by threatening to have BA’s chief executive brought before him
to explain what had become of his luggage.
Belfast Telegraph reports that BA then asked the judge to step aside from
hearing one of the biggest competition battles ever to come before
British courts. Eventually, he complied.
case in question dates back to 2006 when European Commission officials
raided BA offices over suspicions of air cargo price-fixing. The EC later found
BA and several other carriers had colluded to fix air cargo rates – as a result
of which several hundred companies have launched a lawsuit against BA for losses
and damages they say they suffered as a result.
judge has now agreed to step aside or “recuse” himself from the case. But like
a dog with a bone, he wasn’t giving up on his luggage quest, and he didn’t
believe his actions had been inappropriate.
judge said that just because he had raised “issues about the non-delivery of my
luggage” he didn’t believe and “reasonably minded observer” would perceive the
possibility of bias.