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Old Aug 6, 11, 8:28 pm   #1
 
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News - "Frequent-Flying Rabbi Can Sue Northwest-Delta"

http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/08/05/38771.htm

A rabbi who says Northwest Airlines kicked him out of its frequent-flier program for complaining too much can pursue a class action, the 9th Circuit ruled Friday.
The federal appeals panel in Pasadena reversed a lower court and moved Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg's bad-faith lawsuit against the airline forward, finding that a federal deregulation law does not pre-empt a common-law contract claim.
After being dismissed from the Northwest's WorldPerks frequent-flier program, Ginsberg filed a class action against the airline, now part of Delta, two years ago in California's Southern District. He claimed that Northwest had "revoked his membership arbitrarily because he complained too frequently about the services," according to the ruling.
U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino dismissed the case, finding that the Airline Deregulation Act (ADA) pre-empted the rabbi's contract claims. The three-judge appellate panel disagreed, reversing unanimously and cautioning the lower court that the virtues of deregulation do not trump the common law.
"When Congress passed the ADA, it dismantled a federal regulatory structure that had existed since 1958," Judge Robert Beezer wrote for the panel. "By including a preemption clause, congress intended to ensure that the states would not undo the deregulation with regulation of their own. Congress's 'manifest purpose' was to make the airline industry more efficient by unleashing the market forces of competition - it was not to immunize the airline industry from liability for common law contract claims. Congress did not intend to convert airlines into quasi-government agencies, complete with sovereign immunity."
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Old Aug 6, 11, 8:36 pm   #2
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Are you trying to say "Chisholm"?

I don't know anything about this lawsuit, but certainly sounds like he wasn't happy with changes once DL took over. I have rarely had customer service from an airline that was as good as the Chisholm NWA reps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadtail View Post
http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/08/05/38771.htm

A rabbi who says Northwest Airlines kicked him out of its frequent-flier program for complaining too much can pursue a class action, the 9th Circuit ruled Friday.
The federal appeals panel in Pasadena reversed a lower court and moved Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg's bad-faith lawsuit against the airline forward, finding that a federal deregulation law does not pre-empt a common-law contract claim.
After being dismissed from the Northwest's WorldPerks frequent-flier program, Ginsberg filed a class action against the airline, now part of Delta, two years ago in California's Southern District. He claimed that Northwest had "revoked his membership arbitrarily because he complained too frequently about the services," according to the ruling.
U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino dismissed the case, finding that the Airline Deregulation Act (ADA) pre-empted the rabbi's contract claims. The three-judge appellate panel disagreed, reversing unanimously and cautioning the lower court that the virtues of deregulation do not trump the common law.
"When Congress passed the ADA, it dismantled a federal regulatory structure that had existed since 1958," Judge Robert Beezer wrote for the panel. "By including a preemption clause, congress intended to ensure that the states would not undo the deregulation with regulation of their own. Congress's 'manifest purpose' was to make the airline industry more efficient by unleashing the market forces of competition - it was not to immunize the airline industry from liability for common law contract claims. Congress did not intend to convert airlines into quasi-government agencies, complete with sovereign immunity."
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Old Aug 6, 11, 9:15 pm   #3
 
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Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero View Post
Are you trying to say "Chisholm"?

I don't know anything about this lawsuit, but certainly sounds like he wasn't happy with changes once DL took over. I have rarely had customer service from an airline that was as good as the Chisholm NWA reps.
He filed his lawsuit before Delta took over, good try though.
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Old Aug 6, 11, 10:05 pm   #4
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I've never had anything top Chisholm service.
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Old Aug 7, 11, 7:46 am   #5
 
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I wonder what the facts are in this case. As we all know, there are rules and terms of service with FF programs, and there are several reasons why a passenger can have his FF program membership revoked.

(Also, remember the FF program merger was done first - almost a year before the airline merger itself was completed. Some dormant accounts undoubtedly expired during the transfer despite "several tractor-trailer loads of paper mail to members" to advise them of the program merger. Presumably that isn't the issue here.)

This short article states the plaintiff alleges his membership was revoked for complaining too much. If indeed his membership was revoked, I would presume NW (now DL) had a better reason. And, does the article state he can pursue a "class action" suit? How many "revokees" are there out there? Do those who opt-in to this suit get paid in Skymiles?

If complaining too much is reason for dismissal, could you imagine how many FTers would be out?
And there's always Option 4.

The article does not imply Chisholm CSRs revoked his membership, but Chisholm, MN was indeed the address-of-record for Worldperks.

I suspect it won't be necessary but if Chisholm or Bob Soukup need to be defended in court, I hope that court is ready for what will result.

Last edited by bdnyc; Aug 7, 11 at 8:17 am.. Reason: added even more words
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Old Aug 7, 11, 10:06 am   #6
 
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Wow

I'm amazed the OP read the article and the take away was Chisholm. For decades, outside of small claims, courts have routinely dismissed cases brought by customers and State AGs. Basically saying only the Secretary of Transportation had standing. The merits of this case are actually irrelevant. The airlines are far more concerned about making sure it's difficult to sue them.
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Old Aug 7, 11, 1:22 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadtail View Post
He filed his lawsuit before Delta took over, good try though.
This has nothing to do with Chisholm or the consistently top-notch service they delivered. Good try (at kicking up some dust), though...
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Old Aug 7, 11, 3:47 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero View Post
Are you trying to say "Chisholm"?

I don't know anything about this lawsuit, but certainly sounds like he wasn't happy with changes once DL took over. I have rarely had customer service from an airline that was as good as the Chisholm NWA reps.
Northwest revoked Ginsburg's NWA Perks accout in July 2008, 3 months before the airlines actually merger. Since this was a response to his .....ing, obviously all occured well before DL.

But it looks to you like he was reacting to DL changes that came into place a year later.

Never let reality get in the way of your argument.

EDIT: The OP is equally wrong with the "blame it on Chisolm" garbage.

Last edited by exwannabe; Aug 7, 11 at 3:53 pm..
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Old Aug 7, 11, 4:17 pm   #9
 
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Would the certified class be rabbis who complain a lot?
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Old Aug 7, 11, 5:29 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by bdnyc View Post
I wonder what the facts are in this case. As we all know, there are rules and terms of service with FF programs, and there are several reasons why a passenger can have his FF program membership revoked.

(Also, remember the FF program merger was done first - almost a year before the airline merger itself was completed. Some dormant accounts undoubtedly expired during the transfer despite "several tractor-trailer loads of paper mail to members" to advise them of the program merger. Presumably that isn't the issue here.)

This short article states the plaintiff alleges his membership was revoked for complaining too much. If indeed his membership was revoked, I would presume NW (now DL) had a better reason. ..
The only response from NW I know of is from the appeal ruling:

----
Northwest sent Ginsberg an email on November 20, 2008, detailing the basis for Northwest’s decision to revoke Ginsberg’s membership. In that email the Northwest representative quotes from Para-graph 7 of the General Terms and Conditions of the World-Perks Program, which provides that Northwest may determine“in its sole judgment” whether a passenger has abused the program, and that abuse “may result in cancellation of the member’s account and future disqualification from program participation, forfeiture of all mileage accrued and cancellation of previously issued but unused awards.”
---

If NW (and it was NOT DL back then) had a better reason than "we did it because we could", then they did not disclose it.

BTW, as to dates, the merger occurred Oct '08. Ginsburg had his Perks account revoked 3 months before that. The FF plans were merged later, not earlier as you say. [The FF plan merger was before the single certificate of operations, that might be what you were thinking]

What is:

"If indeed his membership was revoked,"

You are joking?
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Old Aug 7, 11, 5:34 pm   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadtail View Post
He filed his lawsuit before Delta took over, good try though.
His status was revoked at the end of June 2008, which was after DL and NWA entered into the agreement, but before the merger was finalized. He filed the lawsuit on January 8, 2009, after the merger was finalized. He alleged in his complaint that the reasons for termination of his status were "nothing more than a pretext for cost-cutting of the Delta merger". Quite an interesting read. Apparently, in addition to terminating his status and his wife's FO status, they also cancelled his CRC membership because he bought it at the discounted Platinum rate which he was no longer eligible for.

In his complaint, he said the airline told him it was because "he had called the Customer Care line with complaints 'too many times,' that he had been bumped from flights 'too often,' and that he had purposely booked reservations on 'full flights' with the intention of getting bumped."

He argued that his complaints were valid, as evidenced by the fact that the airline had provided him compensation. (After all, they wouldn't have compensated him for frivolous complaints, right?)

A fun little bit for the PMNWers from the text of the complaint... "According to the 2008 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, released June 17, 2008, by J.D. Power and Associates, Northwest tied for last place in a survey of customer satisfaction with eight traditional network carriers." (Tied with United. Delta was #3, behind Alaska and Continental.)

He also sought class action status on behalf of all those who had the same thing happen to them.

An exhibit attached to the complaint indicates he contacted NW 24 times in a 6 month period, and that they awarded him $1,925 in TCVs, 78,500 miles, a voucher extension, and $491 in cash reimbursements.
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Last edited by javabytes; Aug 7, 11 at 5:48 pm..
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Old Aug 7, 11, 5:36 pm   #12
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Maybe its me

what the hell does Chisholm have to do with this?
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Old Aug 7, 11, 5:51 pm   #13
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An exhibit attached to the complaint indicates he contacted NW 24 times in a 6 month period, and that they awarded him $1,925 in TCVs, 78,500 miles, a voucher extension, and $491 in cash reimbursements.
If this is not a valid case to fire a customer, I don't know what is.
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Old Aug 7, 11, 6:00 pm   #14
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If this is not a valid case to fire a customer, I don't know what is.
I don't see the problem? This is well under what most FT'er score on a weekly basis.
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Old Aug 7, 11, 6:05 pm   #15
 
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what the hell does Chisholm have to do with this?
1+

And to embellish,, the post merge DL is what it is. People need to get over all the NWA/DL crap.

Both those airlines are ancient history.
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