Brown v. United Airlines, Inc. (U.S. Supreme Court)

The preemption provision of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 provides that a state “may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to price, route, or service of an air carrier.” The issues presented in this case were whether this provision preempts state common-law claims that relate to the price, route, or service of an air carrier, and whether a state law that restricts charges imposed by an airline on the curbside check-in of luggage is related to the price, route, or service of an air carrier within the meaning of the Act. The First Circuit held that plaintiff skycaps’ common-law actions for unjust enrichment and tortious interference based on their employers’ imposition and retention of baggage-handling fees were preempted under the Airline Deregulation Act. We successfully represented United Airlines in opposing certiorari in the Supreme Court.