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Dino says he wants another scotch!A husband and wife are suing United Airlines for “overserving” alcohol during a flight from Osaka, Japan to San Francisco, claiming wine served on the plane fueled a violent fight the couple got into after deplaning.

Husband Yoichi Shimamoto says he became so inebriated “that he could not manage himself,” according to a lawsuit filed US District Court in Tampa. The couple is represented by Carl Hayes of Tampa.

Shimamoto was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct & battery after he struck his wife, Ayisha, injuring her face, while in US Customs.

  
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The lawsuit will likely hinge on whether Chicago-based United operated what was in effect a “flying bar” subject to the same legal liabilities as terrestrial drinking establishments.

At issue is the question of whether laws that hold bars and restaurants responsible for harm caused by intoxicated patrons apply when the bartender and drinker are flying at 40,000 feet across international territory.

“United’s first defense will be there’s no tort action like this in international airspace,” said James Speta, of the Northwestern University Law School.

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Although Yoichi Shimamoto was charged and sentenced to 18 months’ probation, the couple contend that United Airlines ultimately was responsible for his violent outburst.

Shimamoto, a native of Japan, was barred from returning to his home country while his case wound through the San Mateo County courts.



The couple wants United to pick up the $100,000 tab for Shimamoto’s bail, and defense & Immigration attorneys’ fees, as well as the costs they incurred to have his probationary sentence transferred to Florida, where his wife had a home.”

Airlines are frequently sued for the acts of drunken passengers, typically by flight attendants or passengers who suffered harm from an unruly traveler during a flight. What makes this case unusual is that it was brought by the person drinking the airline’s alcohol.

“The idea that the server should have stopped serving is often accepted when the injury is to a third person, such as in a drunk driving situation,” Speta said. “Generally, the courts have not been receptive to people saying, ‘I asked for the drink and you gave it to me.'”

Via Chicago Tribune via Sports Boards.



 

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