United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ESTER SANCHES-NAEK, RASHID HAMID, and ABDUL NAEK HAMID, Plaintiffs,
TAP PORTUGAL, INCORPORATED, Defendant.
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Sanches-Naek, her husband Rashid Hamid, and their minor son
Abdul Naek Hamid (“Plaintiffs”), bring this
action against TAP Portugal, Inc. (“TAP”)
(“Defendant”), alleging various claims under the
laws of Connecticut and under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and
1983. ECF No. 1. Plaintiffs' claims arise from an alleged
incident that occurred after they boarded an international
TAP flight at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Compl.
¶ 4, ECF No. 1.
now moves to dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint in its
entirety, arguing that the Complaint is precluded by the
Montreal Convention and by the Airline Deregulation Act
(“ADA”), 29 U.S.C. § 41714(b). ECF No. 20.
Oral argument on this motion was held on April 27, 2017. ECF
No. 32. For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS
Defendant's motion to dismiss with prejudice.
around July 28, 2016, Plaintiffs booked three round trip
tickets with TAP. Compl. ¶ 4. Plaintiffs' first
flight, TAP Flight 208, was scheduled to depart from John F.
Kennedy International Airport (“JFK”) to Lisbon,
Portugal on August 3, 2016 at 11:30 PM. Id.
Plaintiffs' itinerary allegedly included a connecting
flight from Lisbon to Casablanca, Morocco and then a
returning flight from Porto, Portugal to Lisbon and one from
Lisbon to JFK. Id. Plaintiffs allege that they had
also prepaid for multiple hotel reservations and for ground
transportation to and from each airport, each hotel, and each
destination they planned to visit. Id. Mr. Hamid and
Mr. Naek Hamid were flying first class. Id. ¶
6. Ms. Sanches-Naek was flying in economy class. Id.
boarding, Plaintiffs were allegedly granted access to
TAP's VIP Lounge in the airport terminal and Ms.
Sanches-Naek and Mr. Hamid each allegedly received one
complimentary wine beverage in the VIP Lounge. Id.
¶¶ 6-7. Plaintiffs allege that they did not consume
any other alcoholic beverages before boarding their flight
and that none of them were intoxicated. Id. ¶
allege that they boarded TAP Flight 208 together.
Id. ¶ 8. Ms. Sanches-Naek allegedly proceeded
to her assigned seat in economy class, seat 8D, which was in
the first row of the economy class section of the plane, only
one row away from the first class section of the plane.
Id. ¶ 9. Mr. Hamid, her husband, and Mr. Naek
Hamid, their minor son, proceeded to their seats in the
business class or first class section, seats 2A and 2D.
Id. ¶ 8.
Ms. Sanches-Naek placed her carry-on item in the overhead
compartment, she alleges that she realized that she was
carrying her husband and son's boarding passes and
passports. Id. ¶ 9. She allegedly realized that
they might need these documents immediately. Id. She
allegedly proceeded towards the front of the plane and the
first class section in order to return her husband and
son's travel documents and to assist them with placing
their carry-on baggage in the overhead compartments.
allege that, as Ms. Sanches-Naek approached her husband and
son's seats, she observed a male TAP flight attendant
“rudely and loudly berating and screaming” at
them. Id. ¶ 10. When Ms. Sanches-Naek allegedly
tried to “ascertain why the male flight attendant was
screaming at her elderly husband and minor child and before
she could explain why she was in First Class, ” the
flight attendant allegedly began screaming at her as well,
“ordering her to return back to the Economy Class
section of the airplane and call[ing] Global Security.”
Id. When the Global Security officer arrived, he
allegedly advised Plaintiffs to leave the plane, which they
did. Id. ¶ 11.
Plaintiffs left TAP Flight 208, and while they waited in the
airport terminal to retrieve their luggage, TAP allegedly
also summoned the Port Authority Police Department
(“PAPD”) and five PAPD officers allegedly arrived
at the terminal. Id. ¶ 11. The PAPD officers
allegedly determined that TAP had misinformed them of the
nature of the incident and “that there was no
legitimate reason for [TAP] to have summoned the
allege that this incident resulted in them missing TAP Flight
208, their flight to Lisbon. Id. ¶ 12. This
allegedly resulted in Plaintiffs missing all of their
subsequent flights and therefore “completely
ruined” their vacation. Id.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule
12(b)(6) is designed “merely to assess the legal
feasibility of a complaint, not to assay the weight of
evidence which might be offered in support thereof.”
Official Comm. of Unsecured Creditors of Color Tile, Inc.
v. Coopers & Lybrand, LLP, 322 F.3d 147, 158 (2d
Cir. 2003) (internal citations omitted). When deciding a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court must accept the material
facts alleged in the complaint as true, draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the plaintiff, and decide whether it
is plausible that the plaintiff has a valid claim for relief.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009);
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56
(2007); In re NYSE Specialists Sec. Litig., 503 F.3d
89, 95 (2d Cir. 2007).
plaintiff's “[f]actual allegations must be enough
to raise a right to relief above the speculative level,
” and assert a cause of action with enough heft to show
entitlement to relief and “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570. A claim is facially
plausible if “the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Although “detailed
factual allegations” are not required, a complaint must
offer more than “labels and conclusions, ”
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action, ” or “naked assertion [s]” devoid
of “further factual enhancement.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-57. Plausibility at the
pleading stage is nonetheless distinct from probability, and
“a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it
strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of [the claims] is
improbable, and . . . recovery is very remote and
unlikely.” Id. at 556 (internal quotation
bring various claims under Connecticut state law, including
for “intentional misrepresentation”,
“negligence”, “libel” and
“defamation of character”, “slander”,
“malicious prosecution, ” “elder
abuse”, “breach of contract”,
“violation of the implied covenant of good faith and
fair dealing”, “intentional infliction of
emotional distress”, and “negligent infliction of
emotional distress.” Compl. ¶¶ 13-63.
Plaintiffs also bring claims under 28 U.S.C. §§
1981 and 1983, alleging “discriminatory practices and
treatment.” Id. ¶¶ 37-45. Defendants