Supreme Court Justices to Review Case by Frequent Flier

Photograph ©2008 by Brian Cohen.

The justices of the Supreme Court of the United States will hold one hour of oral arguments on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 pertaining to the review of the case of S. Binyomin Ginsberg — a rabbi who flies frequently to give lectures but his Northwest Airlines WorldPerks frequent flier loyalty program account was unceremoniously revoked in June of 2008 because he supposedly had the audacity to file 24 complaints within a period of eight months about the airline’s service and sought compensation which resulted in $1,925.00 in travel credit vouchers, $491.00 in cash reimbursements, 78,500 WorldPerks frequent flier loyalty program miles and the extension of a voucher for his son.
The revocation of his WorldPerks frequent flier loyalty program account prompted Ginsburg to file a class action lawsuit in January of 2009 seeking five million dollars against Northwest Airlines — whose merger with Delta Air Lines was approved by the United States Department of Justice in October of 2008 — in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. That case was dismissed; and a universal reversal of that decision by the appellate panel of three judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena in 2011 was key in leading up to the upcoming review of the case.
The justices of the Supreme Court are expected to decide as to whether or not Ginsberg has a right under state law for his case to be litigated — or whether it is preempted by a federal law which deregulated the airline industry back in the 1970s and prohibited parties from litigating similar claims against commercial airlines pertaining to a “price, route, or service” of the carrier.
A ruling in the case of Northwest, Incorporated versus Ginsberg is expected sometime during the spring of 2014.
I asked the following questions back on May 20, 2013: do you believe that Ginsburg might have been doing everything he can to procure as much money and benefits as he can from the airline — or does he have a legitimate claim? Regardless of what the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States decide, what implications could the outcome of this case potentially mean for memberships of frequent flier loyalty programs in the future?


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