United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. Casper United States District Judge.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG (“Lufthansa”) brings claims
against the Massachusetts Port Authority
(“Massport”) related to an inclement weather
episode. D. 1. Massport moves to dismiss certain counts of
Lufthansa's complaint, D. 15, and strike Lufthansa's
jury demand, D. 17. For the following reasons, the Court
ALLOWS Massport's motion to strike the jury demand, D.
17, and ALLOWS Massport's motion to dismiss, D. 15, with
respect to Count I (negligence per se), Count IV (proprietary
liability), and Count V (loss of use and enjoyment), but
DENIES Massport's motion to dismiss with respect to Count
II (breach of contract).
Standard of Review
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint
must include “enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007);
García-Catalán v. United States, 734
F.3d 100, 103 (1st Cir. 2013). The Court “must assume
the truth of all well-plead[ed] facts and give the plaintiff
the benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom.”
Ruiz v. Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp., 496 F.3d
1, 5 (1st Cir. 2007).
following facts are based upon the allegations in complaint,
D. 1. Lufthansa is a foreign airline company that operates
flights in and out of Logan International Airport
(“Logan”). D. 1 ¶ 1. Massport is the owner
and operator of Logan. D. 1 ¶ 2. On February 9, 2015, an
aircraft owned and/or operated by Lufthansa (“the
Aircraft”) hit a snowbank on the side of the taxiway
with one of its engines as it was being taxied. D. 1
¶¶ 9, 12. The collision with the snowbank caused
the engine to shut down, leading to the cancellation of the
flight. D. 1 ¶¶ 13-15. As a result, the passengers
on that flight were rebooked onto another Lufthansa flight,
booked in a local hotel, or granted some other form of relief
by Lufthansa. D. 1 ¶ 16. The Aircraft remained
inoperable for ten days and the damaged engine was replaced.
D. 1 ¶¶ 29, 30. Lufthansa now brings claims against
Massport for negligence per se based on Massport's
obligations under federal law; breach of contract; general
negligence; proprietary duty; and loss of use and enjoyment.
and Lufthansa entered into two relevant contracts with each
other: 1) “Boston-Logan International Airport Terminal
Lease between [Massport] and [Lufthansa], ” (the
“Lease Agreement”), D. 16-1, and 2) an
“Operating Agreement, ” D. 21-1.
filed its complaint on September 8, 2017. D. 1. Massport then
moved to dismiss all counts in the complaint except for the
claim for general negligence (Count III) and to strike
Lufthansa's jury demand. D. 15, D. 17. The Court heard
argument on both motions and took the matters under
advisement. D. 36.
Motion to Dismiss
Count I: Negligence Per Se
contends that, under 14 C.F.R. § 139.313, Massport was
obligated to “prepare, maintain, and carry out a snow
and ice control plan” that includes procedures for
“prompt removal or control, as completely as practical,
of snow, ice, and slush on each movement area” and
“positioning snow off the movement area surfaces so all
air carrier aircraft propellers, engine pods, rotors, and
wing tips will clear any snowdrift and snowbank as the
aircraft's landing gear traverses any portion of the
movement area.” D. 1 ¶¶ 39-42. Lufthansa
further argues that Massport's failure to abide by the
obligations set forth in the federal regulation gives rise to
a negligence per se action under Massachusetts law. D. 21 at
4. Massport contends that negligence per se is not a separate
cause of action under Massachusetts law. D. 16 at 4.
Bennett v. Eagle Brook County Store, Inc., 408 Mass.
355, 358-59 (1990), the Supreme Judicial Court noted that
“[i]t has long been the rule in this Commonwealth that
violation of a statute does not by itself establish a breach
of duty, for it does not constitute negligence per se.
Rather, violation of a statute . . . is only some evidence of
the defendant's negligence as to all consequences the
statute was intended to prevent.” Id.
(citation omitted). The Supreme Judicial Court has repeatedly
reaffirmed the principle that negligence per se does not
exist as a cause of action independent from a general
negligence action because violation of the statute can only
be some evidence of the defendant's negligence. See
Lev v. Beverly Enterprises-Massachusetts, Inc., 457
Mass. 234, 245 (2010) (holding that “[i]t is only where
a duty of care exists that the violation of a statute,
ordinance, regulation, or policy is relevant because it
constitutes some evidence of a defendant's
negligence”); Juliano v. Simpson, 461 Mass.
527, 532 ...