Supreme Court Can't Be Bothered With Discrimination Suit Against AA

Yesterday, the case of John D. Cerqueira, Petitioner v. American Airlines, Inc. was on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court -- which ultimately decided to not to bother. For those unfamiliar with the details of the case -- for which the NAACP offered an amicus brief in support of Cerqueira -- it involves an American citizen of Portuguese descent who was booted off a Boston to Fort Lauderdale flight in December 2003 when, he insisted in court documents, employees of the Fort Worth-based carrier decided he looked like a Middle Easterner -- which meant, like, he musta been a terrorist! Cops questioned him for two hours, then decided, um, not so much. But American wouldn't give him a ticket. So he sued -- and won $400,000, only to have an appeals court overturn the victory.

The case has been pending before the Supreme Court for the better part of this year, but American's attorney -- Dallas-based Michael Powell, a partner at Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell -- argued that, look, American's crew was just doing its job: "If the pilot-in-command of an airliner concludes, based on information that comes to him, that there is or might be a safety hazard aboard his aircraft, [federal aviation law] authorizes him to act to protect the safety of the entire aircraft by removing a passenger from the aircraft before flight." Guess it could have been worse. --Robert Wilonsky

Update: Further details of the case are provided in the comments. And I've amended the first paragraph to include the phrase "he insisted in court documents," because I do aim to be fair and accurate.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.