California Appeals Court Reinstates Disability Lawsuit

March 15, 2013

A federal appeals court has reinstated the lawsuit of a disabled California woman who accused an airline of refusing to provide her a wheelchair in several airports.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday said an airline that violates federal standards could be found negligent under state law for not treating a passenger with reasonable care. Michelle Gilstrap of Los Angeles, who suffers from osteoarthritis, said United Airlines denied her requests for wheelchairs at terminals during two flights in 2008 and 2009.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Gilstrap said airline employees questioned her need for a wheelchair.

A federal judge had dismissed Gilstrap’s damage suit, citing a 2003 federal law, which requires airlines to assist disabled passengers but does not expressly allow them to sue for violations.

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