Patricia Barlow has been an air crash litigator in California for 27 years. She has an LLM (hons) in air law from the McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law and she has published numerous articles and a book on aviation law, including an article on "Successive Carriage" in international air transportation, an issue she has also litigated in the federal courts in California. She is a "hands on" litigator who does her own legal research and applies the tactics and knowledge she has acquired through repeated practise having handled hundreds of air crash cases including the California litigation arising from the TAM AIRLINES crash of an F100 aircraft operating as Flight 402 from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where100 passengers and crew were killed. That aircraft crashed into an urban area during takeoff when the aircraft sustained at least three uncommanded reverse thrust deployments, incorrectly interpreted by the pilots as an autothrottle problem. The resulting litigation in California involved airline, airframe and component part defendants. Patricia has also handled numerous cases arising out of an Air Serv incident in Afghanistan, and the Tryco air crash in Afghanistan. Patricia has handled numerous cases where the airline's liability is governed by The Montreal Convention, 1999 which amended The Warsaw Convention, 1929. Patricia recently settled a Montreal Convention passenger personal injury lawsuit filed in Los Angeles against VIRGIN ATLANTIC Airwaysfor $1.38 million. Patricia is presently representing a passenger's family against AIR CHINA for a passenger death from an oxygen supply failure. That case is pending in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Patricia has also represented clients atNTSB hearings in Hawaii. Patricia is also representing California resident Salvatore Bevivino in a discrimination lawsuit against VIRGIN AMERICA which arose out of the ordering of a soft drink on a flight from Philadelphia to San Francosco, and resulted in federal and state agents detaining the passenger. The case is pending before the US District Court for the Northern District of California and has attracted a lot of media attention.
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Terms of Representation of Clients
Following afree consultation either in person or by telephone with Patricia, she provides prospective clients with some written information on her background and cases she has handled, and she provides the names and details of former clients that any prospective client may want to talk to regarding their experience with Barlow Law. Patricia also answers any questions that the prospective clients may have and usually the prospective client has many questions. Once a prospective client such as an injured passengers or the families and estates of deceased passengers wants to move forward with representation by Barlow Law, then Patricia usually represents the client on a contingency fee basis. This involves Barlow Law and the client entering into a written Legal Services Agreement that complies with California law. All aspects of the agreement are discussed with the prospective client before they enter into A Legal Services Agreement with Barlow Law.
The Crash of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport - Liability Issues The liability issues relating to Asiana Flight 214 with respect to the majority of the passenger claims against the airline will be governed by the terms and conditions of theMontreal Convention 1999. The full title of this Convention is "Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air". Chapter 111 of the Convention deals with the liability of the airline and the extent of compensation. Under that Chapter, Article 17(1) provides that the airline will be liable for injury or death if the accident took place on board the aircraft. The combined effect of Article17(1) and Article 21 is that the airline is required to pay as a matter of absolute liability, damages in the amount of 100,000 Special Drawing Rights (approximatelyUS$150,121.97). To recover this amount the passenger does not have to prove anything other than that the "accident" happened, which in the case of the Asiana crash of Flight 214 at SFO on July 6th 2013 is established, and that they have sustained damages up to this amount. Under Article 21 (2)recovery beyond this amount depends upon whether the airline can prove that the injury or death was not due to the airline's negligence or wrongful act or that the damage was due "solely" to the negligence or other wrongful act of a third party and an example here would be a manufacturing defect.
Where Can the Injured Passengers Sue the Airline?
In addition to issues of liability and damages are the provisions of the Montreal Convention which relate to where a passenger or the families can sue the airline. Article 33 and Article 36 are important in this regard. Article 33 provides that the party suing the airline may bring a lawsuit in the place where the airline is domiciled, has its principal place of business, or has a place of business through which the contract was made, or at the"place of destination". This is where the facts of the ticketing of each individual passenger must be reviewed to determine what is that individual's ticketed "place of destination" providing a venue in which to sue the airline. On a round trip ticket, the courts consider the place of destination and the place of departure to be the same place. In other words, the court looks at the place of "ultimate destination" to determine where the passengers may sue the airline. For example where a passenger is ticketed from Los Angeles to Seoull South Korea and back to Los Angeles, the place of destination will be Los Angeles and hence a passenger could sue the airline in Los Angeles.