SPIRIT AIRLINES, INC.

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Nevada Federal Court Holds That The Air Carrier Access Act Does Not Establish A Private Cause Of Action For Discrimination Based On Physical And/or Mental Impairments

12/27/2021 | 05:10am EDT

Plaintiff, a passenger with a rare blood disorder that causes internal neurological anxiety requiring prescription medication, filed a pro se Complaint against Spirit Airlines alleging the airline mistreated her due to her medical condition.  Per the Complaint, the airline refused to let plaintiff fly on her scheduled flight and forced her to book another flight the following evening on five separate occasions. The complaint alleges (1) discrimination on the basis of disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"); (2) discrimination on the basis of disability in violation of the Air Carrier Access Act ("ACAA"); and (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED").

First, the Nevada federal judge denied Plaintiff's claim for disability under the ADA, because the definition of "specified public transportation" for purposes of Title III of the ADA, does not include airlines.  Second, the Court rejected plaintiff's attempt to rely on Fifth and Eighth Circuit opinions which held that the ACAA creates an implied private cause of action. Instead, the Court found that it was bound by Ninth Circuit precedent which concluded that the ACAA prohibits air carriers from "discriminating against disabled individuals" who have a "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities," but does not establish a private cause of action.  

Lastly, the Court held that plaintiff's IIED claim was preempted.  In analyzing whether a particular state law claim is preempted, the Court determines whether the FAA has issued "pervasive regulations" in a particular area.  Multiple courts have interpreted the ACAA to preempt certain state law claims such as negligence. The Court held that plaintiff's IIED claim was not separate, but "inextricably intertwined" with the federal ACAA claim because it arose out of the same facts and, thus, the IIED state law claim was preempted by the ACAA federal regulation. Covino v. Spirit Airlines, Inc., 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177300 (D. Nev. Sept.  17, 2021)

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Kristi J. Doughty
Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP
1600 Market Street
Suite 3600
Philadelphia
PA 19103-7286
UNITED STATES
Tel: 2157512000
Fax: 2157512205
E-mail: contactus@schnader.com
URL: www.schnader.com

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Financials (USD)
Sales 2022 5 072 M - -
Net income 2022 -240 M - -
Net Debt 2022 3 292 M - -
P/E ratio 2022 -8,85x
Yield 2022 -
Capitalization 2 063 M 2 063 M -
EV / Sales 2022 1,06x
EV / Sales 2023 0,89x
Nbr of Employees 9 823
Free-Float 98,0%
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Number of Analysts 9
Last Close Price 18,99 $
Average target price 28,14 $
Spread / Average Target 48,2%
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Managers and Directors
Edward Morgan Christie President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
Scott M. Haralson Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President
H. McIntyre Gardner Chairman
Rocky B. Wiggins Chief Information Officer & Senior Vice President
John Bendoraitis Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President
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