Lawsuit against LIAT dismissed
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – A United States District Court in the Virgin Islands Division of St. Thomas and St. John has thrown out a discrimination lawsuit brought against regional airline LIAT by an American man, Liston Sewer, who was removed from a flight from Tortola to Antigua in 2002.
Sewer, a Rastafarian, had accused LIAT of discriminating against him on the basis of his race, religion and beliefs.
In dismissing Sewer’s suit, the Court said that he presented no evidence to show he was discriminated against by LIAT or its employees.
“Instead, it is apparent that, in removing Sewer from the flight to Antigua, LIAT employees applied neutral selection criteria to remove the eight passengers whose flights could most easily be rescheduled,” the court said in its ruling, a copy of which was obtained by the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
“Second, and more importantly, even if Sewer had presented any evidence of discrimination, there is no legal basis by which he can recover in this Court for discrimination suffered in another country by agents of a foreign airline.”
Sewer, who resides in the US Virgin Islands, was among passengers who pushed passed boarding gate staff and boarded an overbooked LIAT flight on July 28, 2002. He became angry when he did not get a seat and had to be removed from the aircraft by a police officer.
On December 11, 2002, Sewer filed suit against LIAT asserting claims of discrimination, defamation and intentional or negligent infliction of emotion distress.
“Because Sewer’s discrimination claim is pre-empted by the Warsaw Convention and because he has presented no evidence he was discriminated against in any event, this Court grants summary judgment in LIAT’s favour,” the Court said in its ruling. (CMC)