Some charges dropped in student’s Xbox suit

The $1 million lawsuit Jesse Maiman ’10 filed last year — in which he charged US Airways with stealing his Xbox video game system — is still unresolved, but the suit has seen several minor developments since it was first filed, Maiman’s lawyer said over the weekend.

Maiman’s March 2009 suit has seen its fair share of challenges, according to his Mason, Ohio-based lawyer, Bruce Macneil Allman. While the court has so far upheld the claim that US Airways breached its contract with Maiman, a series of motions filed by US Airways has resulted in the dismissal of several of smaller claims, including alleged negligence on the part of US Airways, Allman said. Though Allman said he anticipates at least another year of legal proceedings, he said he is confident he and his client have a solid case.

Maiman, who is a managing editor for the Yale Daily News Magazine, filed his suit in Cincinatti on March 9 of last year, alleging that his Xbox video game system was stolen after he had checked it in to the airline’s baggage service.

“We don’t know who stole it, but it was in [US Airways’] custody,” Allman said in a phone interview. (Maiman declined to comment for this article.)

In the initial filing, Maiman claimed he packed his Xbox and its accessories in “separate compartments” of one suitcase, which he said he sealed with zippers, in preparation for a December 2008 flight from New Haven to Cincinnati. Maiman said he discovered his video game system was missing upon landing in Cincinnati.

Allman claims US Airways breached its contract of carriage, an agreement between an airline and its passenger that outlines the rights and responsibilities of both, when it refused to pay for the lost Xbox.

“The contract does not exclude them from liability,” Allman said.

US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher declined to comment on ongoing litigation, but he pointed to the airline’s baggage policy online, which says US Airways is not liable for damaged baggage when the airline has “exercised the normal standard of care.” US Airways’ Web site does not address lost or stolen baggage.

In addition to the negligence claim, the court also dismissed a fair dealings claim, which concerns the candidness of US Airways’ communications, and a conversion claim, which concerns the use of another’s possessions.

The original lawsuit sought a $701 refund on the plane ticket, as well as economic damages in excess of $1,005 for the cost of the Xbox and $1 million in non-economic and punitive damages, the maximum amount allowed by Ohio state law.

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