United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [DKT. NO.
GONZALO P. CURIEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
American Airlines, Inc. filed a motion for reconsideration of
the Court's order granting in part and denying in part
its motion for summary judgment filed on April 3, 2019, (Dkt.
No. 44). (Dkt. No. 45.) Plaintiff Machelle Cardenas filed an
opposition and Defendant replied. (Dkt. Nos. 48, 49.) The
Court finds that the matter is appropriate for decision
without oral argument pursuant to Local Civ. R. 7.1(d)(1).
Based on the reasoning below, the Court GRANTS in part and
DENIES in part Defendant's motion for reconsideration.
April 30, 2018, Plaintiff Machelle Cardenas
(“Plaintiff”) filed the operative first amended
complaint (“FAC”) against Defendants American
Airlines, Inc. (“Defendant” or “AA”)
and American Airlines Group, Inc. alleging wrongful refusal to
transport pursuant to the Federal Aviation Act, 49 U.S.C.
§ 44902(a)(1), breach of contract, negligence, assault
and battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of
emotional distress for excluding her from a flight at the
Dallas/Fort Worth (“DFW”) airport and then
cancelling future flight reservations and temporarily barring
her from buying any tickets without justification. (Dkt. No.
August 27, 2017, Plaintiff and her son were traveling on an
American Airlines flight from San Diego, CA to Washington
D.C. with a connection at the DFW airport. (Dkt. No. 43,
P's Suppl. Response to SSUF, Nos. 1, 7.) During the
flight from San Diego to DFW, passengers were told the
airport had shut down due to a hurricane coming in and their
flight was in a holding pattern until they were able to land.
(Id., No. 2.) The flight arrived about 2 hours late
and Plaintiff and her son missed their connecting flight.
(Id., No. 3; Dkt. No. 40-2, Menck Decl., Ex. A,
Cardenas Depo. at 17:2-12.)
Plaintiff and her son were waiting in line at DFW to rebook
their connecting flight, an American Customer Service
Manager, Tony Redelfs (“Redelfs”), was passing
out cards to passengers in line instructing them to call the
number to get help to get on the next flight out. (Dkt. No.
43, P's Suppl. Response to SSUF, No. 7.) Plaintiff called
the number and was booked on the next flight. (Id.,
No. 8.) The person on the phone that re-booked the flight
told Plaintiff to remain in line so she could make sure AA
knew where her luggage was going. (Id., No. 9.)
Plaintiff claims she stood in line for 30 to 45 minutes
before leaving the line to approach Redelfs. (Id.,
Nos. 10.) Plaintiff testified she approached the counter at
Gate A-20 where Redelfs was helping another customer.
(Id., No. 11.)
point, the parties' facts differ on how Plaintiff
approached Redelfs. Plaintiff testified she waited for a
break while Redelfs was helping a customer and then touched
Redelfs on the shoulder to get his attention, saying,
“[e]xcuse me, can you help me?” (Id.,
No. 12.) She continued with, “You said you would send
over some agents and nobody's came (sic). It's been
45 minutes. Can you help us?” (Dkt. No. 40-2, Menck
Decl., Ex. A, Cardenas Depo. at 31:12-19.) While she was
talking, Redelfs did not look up, kept typing and asked if
she had a ticket. (Id. at 31:19-24.) Plaintiff then
gave him her ticket and he said, “You're no longer
flying on American. You just assaulted me.”
(Id.) He also said “See all these cameras?
You're getting videotaped. And you just assaulted
me.” (Id. at 32:7-9.) Redelfs told the agent
next to him to “[c]all security” but the female
agent looked up, looked at him, looked at Plaintiff and went
back to what she was going. (Id. at 32:4-6.) Redelfs
turned to the agent again and said “I told you to call
security” and she slowly picked up the phone and called
security. (Id. at 32:4-6; 12-15.) Redelfs told her,
“You cannot go anywhere. You need to stay right here.
You're getting arrested.” (Id. at 33:2-4.)
Plaintiff stated that she begged him and cried stating she
was traveling with her son. (Id. at 32:16-19.) Two
minutes later security arrived. (Id. at 33:23-25.)
Plaintiff testified that nobody told her that she was not
flying because it would be inimical to the safety of the
aircraft or that she was unfit to fly. (Id. at
contrast, Redelfs testified that Plaintiff approached his
left side, grabbed his arm, spun him to face her and said
“you lied to me; You said you were going to get more
people here.” (Dkt. No. 40-2, Menck Decl., Ex. B,
Redelfs Depo. at 56:11-17.) He said that he next asked for
her boarding pass and then he told her she would not be
flying with AA because what she did constituted assault.
(Id. at 56:19-21.) Redelfs testified that he did not
call the DFW police and it was the agent at the gate with him
that called on her own. (Id. at 23:13-25.)
Passenger Name Record, (“PNR”), written by
Redelfs contemporaneously or shortly after the incident
states, “Customer became irate and approached me and
shoved me due to being upset at the service center line.
Reservation cancelled.” (Dkt. No. 40-2, Menck Decl.,
Ex. B at 207; id., Ex. B., Redelfs Depo. at
reservation was canceled and her ticket was subsequently
placed in “no-go” status which means she could
not use her ticket any more but she could have gotten another
ticket to fly out of DFW. (Dkt. No. 40-2, Menck Decl., Ex. B,
Redefls Depo. at 32:1-7; 91:14-20; Dkt. No. 43, P's Supp.
Response to SSUF, No. 33.) Redelfs explained that he has the
authority to cancel a flight but is unable to put somebody on
the no-go list; instead, he needs approval from the System
Customer Service Manager, (“SCSM”) who is in DFW
but not on the airport property. (Dkt. No. 40-2, Menck Decl.,
Ex. B, Redelfs Depo. at 58:11-21; 59:19-60:1.) During the
incident, Redefls called and told the SCSM what happened.
(Id. at 60:2-25.) The SCSM also reviewed the PNR
that Redelfs wrote. (Id.) After hearing what
happened from Redelfs and reviewing the PNR, the SCSM put
Plaintiff's ticket in no-go status. (Id.) At his
deposition, Redelfs testified that he believed that she was
dangerous to other passengers because she could not control
her emotions or behavior. (Id. at 75:19-24.)
incident report dated October 5, 2017, a little over a month
after the incident, Redelfs wrote,
Customer was in line at the A service center. After handing
out the RICAP cards, I assisted another customer at the front
of the line with her connection through London to Frankfurt.
I asked her to come with me to the A20 gate counter to get
her information. While I was working with her reservation,
Mrs. Cardenas grabbed my left arm and spun me around to face
her, put her finger in my face, and yelled at me. She said
that I lied to her, and that I said I would bring more agents
over, but did not. Instead, she alleged I was just bringing
random people over to A20 to help them and letting people
jump the line. At that point, I explained that she would not
be travelling, as what she had done constituted assault. She
began to cry and sat down in the gate area. DPS responded and
spoke to her, but to my knowledge, did not make a report.
Customer apologized profusely, but I still did not let her
travel. I called the SCSM and had her ticket placed in No Go
(Dkt. No. 40-2, Menck Decl., Ex. B at 226.)
couple of minutes after the incident, two female officers
from the Dallas Fort Worth Police Department arrived at the
scene. (Dkt. No. 43, P's Suppl. Response to SSUF, No.
19.) The officers were cordial and did not ask for
Plaintiff's Id. (Id., No. 20.)
Plaintiff testified that she told the officers her story and
they said they were going to speak with Redelfs.
(Id., No. 21.) Plaintiff testified that the two
officers left her to speak with Redelfs and they were gone
for two to three minutes. (Id., No. 22.) Plaintiff
testified that after speaking with Redelfs, the police told
her, "He's not going to have you arrested, but
you're not going to fly on that flight. You're not
flying on American.” (Id., No. 23.) Plaintiff
testified that the officers told her, “go to the gate
with your son. See if you can get on the plane, explain to
the gate agent what happened or to another customer service .
. . .” (Id., No. 24.) When Plaintiff arrived
at the gate at Terminal C with her son, she testified that
she was told that the agent could not get into her record and
her whole itinerary was cancelled. (Id., No. 25.)
The agent told her to exit security, go downstairs and buy
another ticket on the flight as there were plenty of seats.
(Dkt. No. 40-2, Menck Decl., Ex. A, Cardenas Depo. at
43:6-22.) Plaintiff then went downstairs to buy another
ticket but the agent there told her that her account was
locked out. (Id. at 44:1-4.) The agent made a phone
call to Redelfs and told her “You're not going to
be flying tonight. And I can't get you a ticket for
tomorrow either. Your account's locked, and the
agent's not changing his mind.” (Id. at
then called to buy another ticket with another airline but
was not successful as there no more flights to Washington
D.C. that evening. (Dkt. No. 40-2, Menck Decl., Ex. A,
Cardenas Depo at 46:3-22.) She went to a hotel and could not
sleep and around 2:00 a.m. she was able to login to her AA
account, booked a flight at 6:00 a.m. and successfully
boarded the flight and arrived in Washington D.C.
(Id. at 47:19-48:16.)
April 3, 2019, the Court granted in part and denied in part
Defendant's motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 44.)
Specifically, the Court granted summary judgment on the
causes of action for violation of 49 U.S.C. § 44902(b)
of the Federal Aviation Act (“FAA”), breach of
contract, and assault and battery but denied summary judgment
on the claims for negligence, false imprisonment, intentional
infliction of emotional distress as not field preempted by
the FAA and punitive damages. (Id. at
Standard on Motion for Reconsideration
motion for reconsideration, under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e), is “appropriate if the district court
(1) is presented with newly discovered evidence; (2) clear
error or the initial decision was manifestly unjust, or (3)
if there is an intervening change in controlling law.”
Sch. Dist. No. 1J, Multnomah County, Or. V. ACandS,
Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993); see also
Ybarra v. McDaniel, 656 F.3d 984, 998 (9th Cir. 2011).
Court has discretion in granting or denying a motion for
reconsideration. Fuller v. M.G. Jewelry, 950 F.2d
1437, 1441 (9th Cir. 1991). A motion for reconsideration
“may not be used to raise arguments or present
evidence for the first time when they could reasonably have
been raised earlier in the litigation.” Kona
Enters., Inc. v. Estate of Bishop, 229 F.3d 877, 890
(9th Cir. 2000) (emphasis in original).
moves for reconsideration on the Court's order on summary
judgment arguing the Court committed clear error in holding
that the state law claims are not preempted by 49 U.S.C.
§ 44902(b) of the FAA and denying summary judgment on
the issue of punitive damages.
FAA Preemption of ...