Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Crash Course in Class-Action Nonsense

A class-action lawsuit has been authorized by a Quebec court against Air Canada, a company in business transporting people and goods. The airline charges for each seat passengers occupy.

In this action, obese people claim it discriminatory to be charged for the two seats one of them needs to occupy. About 15 people have already joined the suit that seeks $1,000 for pain, suffering or inconvenience, plus an additional $500 for punitive and exemplary damages. The instigating lawyer invites people with a medical condition to join the suit which also claimed as discriminatory the airline charging for two seats when the ill person requires a companion on the trip.

Back in 1957,  Midgets of America demanded: half fare, two in a seat for half-fare, free rides in "big people's" laps if they are willing, or free rides in over-head racks in exchange for entertaining other passengers. It is not reported how this issue was resolved.

Air Canada, like any other carrier, offers the public aircraft with seats of fixed dimensions to anyone who can fit into them. The company may lose money on give-away seats. Samoa Air has a part-solution. The fare is determined by the combined weight of passenger and baggage. The missing part is the need for two seats for one passenger.

May an obese person sue a taxi company because he cannot fit through the car door? May someone with a medical condition sue a rail or coach line because they cannot accommodate necessary medical devices? In Michigan, a blind Muslim woman uses a seeing-eye pony, because some Muslims believe that dogs "violate ritual purity." May this person sue local bus operators if her animal cannot fit on their vehicle?

"It's a violation of fundamental rights to discriminate against people with [medical] deficiencies," the lawyers state. The question remains: When did it become a fundamental right to fly Air Canada or any other airline, railroad, bus, limousine or rickshaw?

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