The opinion of the court was delivered by: REBECCA PALLMEYER, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Christine Hansen ("Hansen") filed this action against
Defendant Delta Airlines ("Delta") seeking redress under Illinois law for
false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and intentional infliction of
emotional distress. Hansen was arrested by officers of the Chicago Police
Department at O'Hare Airport, where she had intended to board a Delta
flight with a final destination of Manchester, England. Hansen initially
filed her complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, and
Delta removed to this court.*fn1 Thereafter, Hansen filed an Amended
Complaint with this court.
Delta now moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Specifically, Delta asserts that
Hansen's state law claims are preempted by (1) the Warsaw Convention, 49
Stat. 3000 (reprinted in 49 U.S.C. § 40105), and (2) the air carrier
immunity provisions of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act,
49 U.S.C. § 44941, and the Federal Aviation Act, 49 U.S.C. § 44902(b).
For the reasons set forth below, Delta's motion is denied.
According to the Amended Complaint, on January 7, 2002, Defendant Delta
Airlines issued Plaintiff Hansen a round-trip ticket for travel from
Chicago, Illinois, to her final destination of Manchester, England.
(Amended Complaint ("Am. Compl.") ¶ 7.) The first leg of Plaintiff's
trip was to be on Delta Flight No. 555, scheduled to depart from O'Hare
Airport in Chicago, Illinois ("O'Hare"), on January 15, 2002.
(Id. ¶ 8.)*fn2 On that day, Plaintiff and her husband,
James Bottomley ("Bottomley"), approached the first-class Delta ticketing
counter at O'Hare, (Id. ¶ 9), and received their boarding
passes from the ticketing agents at the check-in counter. (Id.
¶ 10.) Plaintiff asserts that she cooperated with all of the requests
and questions of Delta's employees. (Id. ¶ 11.) "[A]t some
point after" Plaintiff and Bottomley left the first-class counter, a
Delta employee told the authorities that Plaintiff had uttered the word
"bomb"; Plaintiff denies that she said that word. (Id. ¶
12.) Delta employee Teresa Moloney ("Moloney") signed a complaint on
behalf of Delta, in which she accused Plaintiff of committing "the
offense of disorderly conduct." (Id. ¶ 13.) Specifically,
Moloney alleged that Plaintiff "[s]tated the word `bomb' during a
conversation with [Moloney] who is an agent for Delta Airlines as the
agent asked . . . [Hansen] security question [sic]. This action put
people in the area in fear for their safety." (Ex. B to Am. Compl.)
As Plaintiff and Bottomley "reached the boarding line for flight 555,'
two uniformed Chicago Police Department officers detained Plaintiff. (Am.
Compl. ¶ 14.) Plaintiff was handcuffed, escorted to a police van, and
transported to a Chicago Police station. (Id. ¶ 15.) At the
police station, a Chicago Police officer performed a body search of
Plaintiff, handcuffed her to a jail cell, and photographed and
fingerprinted her. (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff was released on
bail the following day.
(Id. ¶ 17.) At her March 15, 2002 criminal hearing,
all charges against Plaintiff were dropped due to lack of prosecution.
(Id. ¶ 18.)
In Count I of her Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserts that Delta's
actions resulted in her false imprisonment, (Id. ¶ 19), and
that Delta's actions were intentional, willful, wanton, and done with
reckless disregard for Plaintiff's rights and without any basis in fact.
(Id. ¶ 20.) In Count II, Plaintiff alleges that Delta's
actions constituted malicious prosecution, (Id. ¶ 23), and
that Delta did not have probable cause for its actions. (Id.
¶ 24.) In Count III, Plaintiff claims that Delta's actions
constituted intentional infliction of emotional distress, (Id.
¶ 27), and that Delta's actions were extreme and outrageous,
(Id. ¶ 29), as well as intentional, willful, wanton, and
done with reckless disregard for Plaintiff's rights and without any basis
in fact. (Id. ¶ 28.)
Plaintiff asserts that she has suffered damages caused by Delta's
actions, including, but not limited to: (1) damage to her professional
reputation; (2) past and future loss of income; (3) emotional distress;
and (4) other economic and consequential damages in an amount in excess
of $100,000, plus the cost of this action. (Id. ¶¶ 21, 25,
Delta moves to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to FED. R. Civ.
P. 12(b)(6). When ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept
all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, and must draw all
reasonable inferences from the facts in favor of the plaintiff.
Flannery v. Recording Indus. Ass'n of Am., 354 F.3d 632, 637
(7th Cir. 2004). The court may grant such a motion only if there is "no
possible interpretation of the complaint" under which the plaintiff can
state a claim. Id. Delta argues that Plaintiff's state law
claims are preempted under the Warsaw Convention (the "Convention") and
barred by the air carrier immunity provisions of the Aviation and
Transportation Security Act and the Federal Aviation Act (Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss f Def.'s Motion"), at 1.)
II. Does the Warsaw Convention Preempt Plaintiff's Claims?
Delta argues that the Convention is Plaintiff's exclusive source of
remedy and preempts her state law claims for false imprisonment,
malicious prosecution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
(Def.'s Motion, at 3.) The Convention is a multilateral treaty that
governs liability for personal injury and damage to goods during
international flight. Commercial Union Ins. Co. v. Alitalia
Airlines, S.p.A., 347 F.3d 448
, 456 (2d Cir. 2003). As a treaty to
which the United States adheres, the Convention is the supreme law of the
land and trumps state and local law when it applies. Commercial
Union, 347 F.3d at 456-57 (citing U.S. CONST, art. II, § 2 &
art. VI). The Convention governs "all international transportation of
persons, baggage, or goods performed by aircraft for hire." Art. 1(1).
Article 17 of the Convention defines the scope of an air carrier's
liability for personal injuries to passengers:
The carrier shall be liable for damage sustained
in the event of the death or wounding of a
passenger or any other bodily injury suffered by a
passenger, if the accident which caused the damage
so sustained took place on board the aircraft or
in the course of any of the operations of
embarking or disembarking.
Article 17 imposes strict liability on airlines for personal
injuries resulting from an accident that occurs "on board [an] aircraft
or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking."
Eastern Airlines, Inc. v. Floyd, 499 U.S. 530
, 552 (1991).
Purely mental injuries, unaccompanied by physical injuries, are not
compensable under the Convention. Id at 552-53 ("An air carrier
cannot be held liable under Article 17 when an accident has not caused a
passenger to suffer death, physical injury, or physical manifestation of
injury. . . . [W]e express no view as to whether passengers can
recover for mental injuries that are accompanied by physical injuries');
Ehrlich v. American Airlines, F.3d 2004 WL
419438, at *18 (2d Cir. Mar. 8, 2004) ("Article 17 . . . permits
passengers to hold a carrier liable for a mental injury only to the
extent that it was caused by a physical injury").
The Supreme Court has held that "recovery for a personal injury
suffered `on board [an] aircraft or in the course of any of the
operations of embarking or disembarking,' if not allowed under
the Convention, is not available at all." El Al Israel
Airlines, Ltd. v. Tseng, 525 U.S. 155, 161 (1999) (quoting Art. 17,
49 Stat. 3018). Where applicable, the Convention "preclude[s] a passenger
from maintaining an action for personal injury damages under local law
when her claim ...