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A major airline and its property insurer hired us to look at a fire that happened at the Miami International Airport at the fuel farm, which is what they call the area that they store the jet fuel for the airplanes. So when the clients came to us one of the major hurdles that they had is that there was a question as to whether there was any written contract that would apply to the circumstances, and if so, what damages could even be recoverable?
Because they were looking at not only the damages from the fire itself, and thank heaven no one was hurt, but they were looking at the not only the property damages, but also the damages that attorneys will call consequential damages. Which are damages that are not just the property, but damages that would include the business damages that the airline suffered because they were unable to get people into airplanes and flying from this, a major hub of an airport and cause hundreds of cancellations over the course of time before they were able to rebuild the area where the fire was.
You know, the clients came to us and really when they did I don’t think that there was much hope that there would even be something that could be pursued, but we were able to put together a legal theory that had grounds. I withstood the challenges of the other side and ultimately achieve a result that our clients were certainly very happy with.
Because there was no written contract, per se, what we did is we put together under the commercial code a series of purchases on a regular basis that became the course of dealing between the two parties, and by constructing that and reconstructing what had happened over the course of time we were able to establish what the terms of the agreement between the parties was. And what it essentially was, was that the airline was buying its own fuel, or buying the servicing of its own fuel from a company that was storing it at the farm for the county and delivering it into the piping system. It was fuel that was already owned by the airline that we represented. So they were essentially just contracting for the service of give me my fuel when I need it.
With that and the understanding that the parties had of how important getting fuel to the airplanes was, and how important this particular airport was to that airline’s business we were able to establish an expectancy that if there was a problem like this and it was the fault of someone on the side of the supplier, then there was an expectation of the amount of damages that could be suffered from that and use that form the basis for how we were able to recover.
Coral Gables, FL commercial litigation attorney Adam B. Leichtling talks about a memorable case successfully defending an airline company recover it’s losses.