Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pan American World Airways vs. Rapadas (G.R. No. 60673)

Facts: Private respondent Jose Rapadas held passenger ticket and baggage claim check for petitioner’s flight No. 841 with the route from Guam to Manila. While standing inline to board the flight at the Guam Airport, Rapadas was ordered by petitioner’s hand carry control agent to check-in his samsonite attaché case. Rapadas protested pointing to the fact that other co-pasengers were permitted to hand carry baggage. He stepped out of the line only to go back again at the end of it to try of he can get through without having to register his attaché case. However, the same man in charge of had carry control did not fail to notice him and ordered him again to register his baggage. Upon arriving in Manila on the same day, Rapadas claimed and was given all his checked in baggage except the attaché case. 

Issue: Whether or not a passenger is bound by the terms of a passenger under the Warsaw convention, shall apply in case of loss, damage or destruction to a registered luggage of a passenger. 

Held: After a review of the various arguments of the appointing parties, the court found sufficient basis under the particular facts of the case for the availment of the liability limitations under the Warsaw Convention. There is no dispute and the courts below admit that there was such a notice appearing on page 2 of the airline ticket stating that the Warsaw Convention governs in case of death or injury of passengers or of loss, damage or destructionto a passenger’s luggage. Art. 22(4) of the Warsaw Convention does not preclude an award of attorney’s fees. That provision states that the limits of liability prescribed in the instrument shall not prevent the court from awarding in accordance with its own law, in addition, the whole or part of the court costs and other expenses of litigation incurred by the plaintiff.

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