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Originally published Monday, April 6, 2009 at 5:17 PM

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Lawsuit over British Airways' lost luggage gets go-ahead

British Airways fails in legal bid to get class-action lawsuit, filed by Seattle law firm, over lost luggage dismissed.

Seattle Times Travel staff

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A lawsuit by passengers against British Airways over lost luggage got a legal go-ahead Monday.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in New York declined to dismiss the lawsuit, as British Airways had sought. The U.S. passengers are seeking extra compensation for lost luggage and are represented by a Seattle law firm, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, known for high-profile, class-action lawsuits.

The lawsuit contends the airline was knowingly reckless in its baggage handling and that a limit of approximately $1,500 in compensation, set under an international air-travel agreement called the Montreal Convention, should not apply.

Thousands of British Airways passengers suffered lost or extensively delayed baggage when they traveled through London's Heathrow Airport several years ago. The lawsuit, originally filed in 2007, is seeking compensation for passengers for their actual financial loss, not the $1,500 maximum.

Two of the travelers first involved in the lawsuit, Donald and Joan Smith, were from Tacoma. On a British Airways flight to Italy in June 2007, their luggage went missing for weeks and was eventually found wet and damaged beyond repair, said the law firm.

The case, Smith vs. British Airways, seeks to represent American passengers who flew on British Airways between Sept. 5, 2005 and Sept. 5, 2007 and whose luggage was lost, damaged or delayed.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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