Olympic Airways v. Husain

An airline passenger with asthma was seated three rows ahead of the smoking section on an international flight. The passenger and his wife repeatedly asked the flight attendant to move to a different seat but the flight attendant refused, alleging that the plan was full (it was not). The passenger died during the flight and his wife sued the airline under the Warsaw Convention, which imposes liability for a passenger’s death caused by an “accident” on an international flight. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed earlier rulings that the airline was liable for the passenger’s death because its conduct constituted an accident. The court found that the carrier’s unusual and unexpected refusal to assist the passenger was a cause of his death, along with the exposure to secondhand smoke.