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Giannopoulos v. Iberia Lineas Aereas De Espana, S.A.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

February 12, 2014

THEODOROS GIANNOPOULOS, ALEXANDRA GIANNOPOULOS, JAMES VARSAMIS, LAUREN MITCHELL VARSAMIS, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHER SIMILARLY SITUTATED, Plaintiffs,
v.
IBERIA LÍNEAS AÉREAS DE ESPAÑA, S.A., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS M. DURKIN, District Judge.

Plaintiffs are four individuals who purchased airline tickets for travel between the United States and Europe and for at least part of their trip traveled on aircraft operated by Iberia Líneas Aereas de España ("Iberia"). See R. 156. Plaintiffs' flights were delayed, and they bring a putative class action alleging breach of contract (Count I) and violation of a European Union regulation that requires compensation for airline delays under certain circumstances (Count II). Id. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), Iberia moves for judgment on the pleadings on the claim that seeks relief for violation of the EU regulation (Count II).[1] R. 170. For the following reasons, Iberia's motion is granted.

Background

European Union Regulation No. 261/2004 ("EU 261") requires airlines to compensate airline passengers for certain delayed and canceled flights departing from or arriving at airports in the European Union. See R. 156-1 (EU 261 Arts. 3, 5-7). The Preamble states:

Member States should ensure and supervise general compliance by their air carriers with this Regulation and designate an appropriate body to carry out such enforcement tasks. The supervision should not affect the rights of passengers and air carriers to seek legal redress from courts under procedures of national law.

Id. ¶ 22. Article 15 of the regulation also states:

the passenger shall... be entitled to take the necessary proceedings before the competent courts or bodies.

Id. Art. 15(2). And Article 12 states that "[t]his Regulation shall apply without prejudice to a passenger's rights to further compensation." Id. Art. 12(1). Further, Article 16 provides:

(1) Each Member State shall designate a body responsible for the enforcement of this Regulation....
(2) Without prejudice to Article 12, each passenger may complain to any body designated under paragraph 1, or to any other competent body designated by a Member State.

Id. Art. 16(1), (2). In addition to modifying the word "law" in the Preamble, the word "national" is used in Article 14 to modify the phrase "designated body referred to in Article 16." Id. Art. 14(2). The regulation does not mention the United States or its courts.

Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) permits a party to move for judgment after the parties have filed the complaint and answer. Buchanan-Moore v. Cnty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009). A Rule 12(c) motion is subject to the same standard as a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. See id. A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. See, e.g., Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). A complaint must provide "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), sufficient to provide defendant with "fair notice" of the claim and the basis for it. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This "standard demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While "detailed factual allegations" are not required, "labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The complaint must "contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to ...


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