As a result of the ordeal, Biscone said she missed a friend's film premiere and "important" business meetings that resulted in "lost business opportunities."
Having undergone shoulder surgery six months earlier, she said she experienced cramping, aches and mental distress. She claimed that resulted in six months of physical pain and treatment for panic and anxiety attacks.
Biscone filed her suit in February 2008. She asserted five cause of action: false imprisonment; negligence and negligence per se; intentional infliction of emotion distress; fraud and deceit; and breach of contract.
Among its arguments for dismissal, JetBlue argued the tort claims were preempted by the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act. That law removed government control over airfare and services, and included a preemption provision preventing states from establishing their own regulation.
The preemption clause barred states from "enact[ing] or enforc[ing] a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of an air carrier that may provide air transportation."
In October 2010, Queens Supreme Court Justice Valerie Brathwaite Nelson (See Profile) held the Airline Deregulation Act did not apply to tort claims for personal injury but did apply to other tort claims pertaining to airline service.
As a result, she dismissed the false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud and deceit claims. She let the breach of contract claim proceed, along with the negligence claim to the extent it was predicated on personal injury.
On appeal, Biscone said 11-hour confinement on a grounded aircraft was not related to the provision of service contemplated by the federal law's preemption clause.
She also contended the underlying tort claims were too attenuated from the federal law's aim of market deregulation.
JetBlue countered that the preemption clause at issue was broad. The dismissed claims, it argued, were "an impermissible attempt to regulate through state law an airline's operations and practices during ground delays."