Eleonore Prüller-Frey v Norbert Brodnig and Axa Versicherung AG
C-240/14, CJEU, 9 September 2015
Reference for a preliminary ruling — Air carrier liability in the event of accidents — Action for damages — Montreal Convention — Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 — Flight operated free of charge by the owner of a property in order to show that property to a prospective purchaser — Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 — Direct action provided for by national law against the civil-liability insurer
Non-applicability of Article 17 of the Montreal Convention to a non-paying passenger on a flight with the purpose of surveying a property. Direct action against insurer permitted.
The Court held:
1. Article 2(1)(a) and (c) of Council Regulation (EC) No 2027/97 of 9 October 1997 on air carrier liability in respect of the carriage of passengers and their baggage by air, as amended by Regulation (EC) No 889/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 May 2002, and Article 1(1) of the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, concluded in Montreal on 28 May 1999 and approved on behalf of the European Union by Council Decision 2001/539/EC of 5 April 2001, must be interpreted as meaning that they preclude a determination on the basis of Article 17 of that Convention of a claim for damages brought by a person who — whilst she (i) was a passenger in an aircraft that had the same place of take-off and landing in a Member State and (ii) was being carried free of charge for the purpose of viewing from the air a property in connection with a property transaction planned with the pilot of that aircraft — was physically injured when the aircraft crashed.
2. Article 18 of Regulation (EC) No 864/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 July 2007 on the law applicable to non-contractual obligations (Rome II) must be interpreted as meaning that, in a situation such as that of the case before the referring court, a person who has suffered damage is entitled to bring a direct action against the insurer of the person liable to provide compensation, where such an action is provided for by the law applicable to the non-contractual obligation, regardless of the provision made by the law that the parties have chosen as the law applicable to the insurance contract.
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