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Maheindra Kumar Sahye v Air Mauritius Ltd (1497/2007)

Maheindra Kumar Sahye (the Plaintiff) was claiming from Air Mauritius Ltd (the Defendant) the sum of Rs. 300,000 with costs and interests for damage and prejudice suffered by him due to the acts and doings of the Defendant during his flight from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong, which acts and doings allegedly amounted to a “faute”.

While he was on the abovementioned flight he was drenched by a viscous liquid falling from above his seat.

The “faute” alleged was to the effect that the Defendant has failed in its contractual obligations to carry him safely and without inconvenience from one place to another, this amounting to a “faute”.

The Issue:
Whether the Plaintiff has a cause of action against the Defendant and if the unpleasant incident that occurred with him during his flight can be assimilated to “death” or “wounding of a passenger” or “any other bodily injury suffered by the passenger” for which an action against the airline company is provided under the Warsaw Convention and the Code de Commerce.

It was held that the Warsaw Convention 1929 (also known as the Convention for the Unification of certain rules relating to international carriage by air), which is the exclusive code for limitation of liability for air carriers for international air carriage of passengers for reward, has been incorporated in our domestic law at articles 437 to 473 of the Code de Commerce.

Citing judgments from the House of Lords (Morris v KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, King v Bristow Helicopters 2002 2 All ER 565 HL), the United Kingdom Supreme Court (Scott v Thomas Cook 2014 UKSC 15), the United States Supreme Court (Eastern Airlines Inc, v Floyd 499 US 530 1991), United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit (George KING and Judy King v American Airlines Inc Flagship Airlines Inc, AMR Corporation, AMR Eagle Holding Corporation and American Eagle Airlines Inc Docket No. 01-7611), Canadian Courts and South African Courts, the Intermediate Court magistrate held that if there is no wound or bodily injury (blessure ou lesion corporelle) but mere inconvenience suffered by the passenger alleging damages, the conditions for liability under the Warsaw Convention and consequently under the provisions of the Code de Commerce are not satisfied.

The case of the Plaintiff was therefore dismissed.

Attorney for the Defendant: Etude Guy Rivalland

Please view full text here: Maheindra Kumar Sahye v Air Mauritius Ltd (1497/2007) [PDF]