Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lawsuits against airlines who allow international child abduction

The abduction of children from the United States is facilitated by the lack of exit controls at U.S. borders. A lawsuit just filed in Massachusetts against Continental Airlines may help shift at least some of the responsibility onto the airlines.

The plaintiff claims that Continental should not have allowed his ex-wife to fly to Mexico with their 3-year-old daughter without his permission. He contends that Continental's policies and Mexican law both require a single parent traveling with a minor child to present a notarized letter from the absent parent authorizing travel into Mexico.

In 2005, a Connecticut jury returned a $27 million verdict against a charter airline company in favor of a mother for negligently failing to maintain adequate safeguards agsinst abductions when it accepted $160,000 to fly a father and his three children to Egypt and then to Cuba.

This opens the door to what may prove to be a useful way to encourage the airlines to act more diligently to prevent international child abduction.