By Kristina M. Launey

So held U.S. District Court Judge Morrison England, in the Eastern District of California, last week in a suit filed by Robert Segalman, who is blind and requires use of a wheelchair. Segalman alleged that Southwest Airlines’ improper stowage and transport of his power wheelchair caused him injury, in violation of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 (ACAA) and California’s Unruh and Disabled Persons Act. A year after filing his original Complaint, Segalman asked the Court for leave to file a second amended complaint that removes the ACAA claim and adds an ADA claim.

The Court rejected as premature Southwest’s arguments that the state law claims are preempted by the ACAA and that airlines are excluded from the ADA’s reach. The Court allowed the amendment, reasoning that Southwest would suffer no prejudice from the amendment and that the plaintiff’s claims are of “great import to the public.”

We will keep you posted as this case progresses.