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Southwest wins part of drink coupon suit

Customers said airline improperly stopped accepting coupons

Southwest Airlines has won part of a lawsuit two passengers brought against the airline over whether their free drink coupons were valid.

In August 2010, Southwest Airlines announced it would stop honoring the drink coupons, which it had distributed to passengers through its Business Select program and had no expiration dates on them. Later that month, two Southwest passengers—Adam Levitt and Herbert Malone—filed suit against the airline claiming breach of contract, among other violations.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly in Chicago threw out part of that suit, saying federal airline law preempts claims accusing Southwest of unjust enrichment and violating state consumer fraud laws. The judge, however, stopped short of addressing the breach of contract claim and refused Southwest’s request to delay the case.

"The court's ruling has now liberated us to aggressively prosecute this case, which is exactly what we intend," Joseph Siprut, a Chicago lawyer who represents the plaintiffs, told Thomson Reuters.


Cathleen Flahardy

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