Another Defect In That United Flight Attendant Lawsuit Against Marriott

The fired United Airlines flight attendant who is suing Marriott under a variety of theories stemming from a positive Covid-19 test, quarantine at the Courtyard Wilmington Downtown, and the hotel sharing his behavior with the airline including that he was allegedly maskless in the lobby among other guests despite his Covid-19 diagnosis is getting quite a bit of coverage.

Much of the detail in the suit is a total distraction. A lot of time is focused on whether or not Marriott had policies in place that he was violating rather than whether or not the specific claims about his behavior that were shared with United are true or not. That’s the real issue. And the suit offers no motive as to why the hotel would lie, which will make it difficult to prevail in any jury trial.

I pointed to a more fundamental problem: the flight attendant is suing Marriott, but the hotel is neither owned nor operated by Marriott as the suit claims. Instead the hotel appears to be operated by CN Hotels. There’s no theory advanced why Marriott would be liable without being the one responsible for the employees who communicated with United.

There’s another defect in the suit which reader and law professor Josh Blackman points out to me. I hadn’t looked at where the suit was filed…

The Plaintiff sued in Cook County, Illinois circuit court. He picked that venue because Marriott International does business in Illinois. CN Hotels, however, does not. All of their properties seem to be on the East Coast. There is no personal jurisdiction over CN Hotels in Illinois. He’ll have to file suit in Delaware against CN.

Several few years ago I was sued in federal court for a (completely factual) post I had written that the subject whom was claiming to start an airline didn’t like. It struck me as one of the more far-fetched schemes even for a world that regularly sees efforts like BALTIA and Avatar.

He fired his first attorney who sent me a nastygram, because that attorney wouldn’t actually file suit. His second lawyer filed against me in Virginia, which had no anti-SLAPP statute at the time.
I hadn’t lived in Virginia in several years and the plaintiff – who had corresponded with me in Texas knew this. The attorney didn’t check the information his client gave him and even claimed in his federal suit filed in the Eastern District of Virginia on the day the statute of limitations would have tolled that I was evading service.

We drew Leonie Brinkema as our judge. She presided over the trial of 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and issued a stay against President Trump’s immigration executive order during his first month in office. This is not a judge to suffer fools gladly. A federal rule 11 letter, putting the attorney on notice that we’d seek costs against him, helped put the matter to rest quickly.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I’ve practiced before Judge Brinkema – my case was a slam dunk cybersquatting case that I
    am glad I won, but which I attribute to the facts rather than my skill. (dellkorea.com can cybersquat on the name, but they cannot sell computers on that site).

    Judge Brinkema has, when sitting in diversity jurisdiction applying Virginia law come to aggressively consumer friendly, illogical, conclusions that would make the California Supreme Court blush. Virginia law is at the other end of the spectrum and she knows that.

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