Irwin Mitchell assists BA class action

Irwin Mitchell assists BA class action” />Irwin Mitchell is joining forces with US class action specialists Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll in its fight against airlines charging passengers fuel surchages.

Last week (23 June), Cohen Milstein filed a class action suit in New York against British Airways (BA), Virgin Atlantic and 10 other unnamed airlines, alleging that the companies were involved in a conspiracy to fix and raise passenger air fares on flights between the UK and the US through fuel surcharges.

The litigation comes in the midst of a joint Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation into the allegations, which affect both passenger and cargo flights.

Irwin Mitchell, which has a transatlantic affiliation with Cohen Milstein, is working with the firm to direct potential UK claimants to the US. Through an announcement on the firm’s website, Irwin Mitchell is alerting UK citizens that they may have a claim.

Irwin Mitchell partner Alan Owens said: “This clearly affects not just US citizens, but those in the UK and beyond. Our role is to let domestic clients know of their potential rights to sue in the US.”

He added that Irwin Mitchell itself was not launching an action at present, although he said that there could be causes for litigation in the UK as well.

The US lawsuit is filed on behalf of a named passenger, John Gornik, and all other “similarly situated” passengers. It states: “As a result of Defendants’ unlawful conduct and conspiracy, Plaintiff and the other members of the Class paid artificially high prices for Passenger Air Transportation and Surcharges thereon, and have been damaged thereby.”

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett co-head of litigation Charles Koob is understood to be acting for Virgin Atlantic.

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson refused to comment on what he described as an “apparent claim”. BA also declined to comment.