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20 March 2019
On 6 April 2015 the plaintiff boarded Aeromexico Flight 401 in New York bound for Buenos Aires with a stopover in Mexico City on 6 April 2015.
When boarding, the crew required that the plaintiff's hand luggage be sent to the aircraft's baggage container. On arrival in Mexico City the plaintiff found her carry-on bag, but claimed that her laptop, containing the work that she had done in the United States, had been lost.
According to the plaintiff, her lost Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition contained her work as communications press manager at Penguin Random House in Argentina.
The plaintiff filed a claim against Aeromexico (Claim 1393/TU0542NC), but received no copy of the claim. On 2 October 2015 she sent a legal letter to Aeromexico, but received no reply. As a result, the plaintiff claimed Ps180,000 from Aeromexico (approximately €20,000 at the date of the trip) for material and moral damages.
Aeromexico responded to the complaint arguing that:
Based on the facts and allegations of the parties, the first-instance court held that as both parties had agreed on the flight number and date of the plaintiff's flight, the court had to examine which party was responsible and what damage (if any) was owed to the plaintiff.
The court based its decision on presumptions as no evidence had been clearly provided that the laptop had been inside the plaintiff's carry-on bag.
The plaintiff was a communications press manager at Penguin Random House and her trip to New York had been for business purposes. She claimed to have used her laptop for work purposes, which seemed feasible.
In order to establish the missing laptop's value, the plaintiff sent a request to Dell Argentina, which replied that that model of laptop cost between Ps37,000 and Ps40,000 (approximately between $4,100 and $4,500 at the date of the trip). However, Dell also informed the court that said model had never been sold in Argentina.
The first-instance court ordered Aeromexico to pay the plaintiff Ps40,000 (approximately $2,000 at the date of the trip) for material damages and Ps25,000 (approximately $2,700 on the date of the flight) for moral damages with interest since the date of the flight.
Both parties appealed the first-instance decision to the Civil and Commercial Court of Appeals.(1) Judge Guillermo Alberto Antelo argued that the first-instance decision should be revoked on the following grounds:
Judge Antelo voted to revoke the first-instance decision and the other two Chamber III judges agreed unanimously.
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Elizabeth Mireya Freidenberg