P.M. BRIEFING : Justices Limit KAL Damages

From Times wire services

The Supreme Court, expanding airlines’ protection against big damages, limited the financial penalties that may be imposed against Korean Air Lines for a 1983 disaster in which 269 people died when a KAL passenger jet was shot down over Soviet airspace.

By a 9-0 vote, the justices said today the airline will not have to pay more than $75,000 in damages for each person who died in the disaster.

The court said the limit on liability is not voided by the airline’s failure to use the proper size type on its tickets to alert passengers of the $75,000 limit.

While the court was unanimous in shielding KAL from larger damages, the justices were sharply divided in granting airlines even broader protection from costly lawsuits.


By a 5-4 vote, the court said an international agreement known as the Warsaw Convention does not force airlines to give passengers adequate warning on their tickets that there is a $75,000 damage limit.