Judge In Airline Lawsuit Just Wants To Know Where His Bags Are

Open Jaw

The 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.


High 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.


The 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.


The 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.


The 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.


The 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.


The 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.

(will not be published)