Public Policy: Claims Unlimited

The case was considered so important that the entire nine-man panel of the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals sat in on it. The question: If a passenger dies in an airplane crash, can his beneficiaries collect only the maximum damage claims allowed by the state in which the accident happened? In a decision that will profoundly affect insurance companies and airlines, the court said no by a six-to-three vote.

Involved in the ruling was a Northeast Airlines Convair that left New York's La Guardia Airport on Aug. 15, 1958, crashed while approaching Nantucket Island, Mass., and killed 25. One New...

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