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Ebola crisis puts aviation firm on high alert…

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Sean Gates

Sean Gates


Airlines should follow World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for dealing with passengers travelling from Ebola-infected areas if they are to avoid unnecessary legal action by infected passengers.

This call by Sean Gates, Consultant at the international law firm Hill Dickinson, follows news this morning that passengers arriving at Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Eurostar train terminals are to be screened for Ebola.

He has strongly advised airlines to follow the WHO and the CDC guidelines and any others that may be applicable to ensure that they have no liability to passengers, regulators or third parties in other countries infected by a sick passenger. This follows the recent death of Thomas Eric Duncan at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

Mr Gates warned: “If it can be proven that airlines have not complied then they may have to pay claims though they will commonly be insured up to $2bn. This would be fine for passengers but if some court in the US found the airline liable for importing the disease, and that victims were within the ambit of their duty of care, then the exposure could easily exceed the available insurance.

“It they breach regulations then there may also be penalties. There is also the commercial damage which could ensue the terms of damage to reputation.”

Please note that Hill Dickinson is available to advise on handling, remediation, exposure and the extent of and responsibility of insurers.

For further information regarding the Ebola crisis, please visit: http://www.hilldickinson.com/ebola_virus_some_legal_issues.html

About Hill Dickinson

•             Hill Dickinson LLP is a leading and award-winning international commercial law firm with more than 1, 300 people including 180 partners, with offices in Liverpool, Manchester, London, Sheffield, Piraeus, Monaco, Singapore and Hong Kong.

•             The firm delivers advice and strategic guidance spanning the full legal spectrum, from non-contentious advisory and transactional work to all forms of dispute resolution.

•             Hill Dickinson prides itself on fostering the strongest client relationships and adding value through innovation. The firm acts as a trusted adviser to businesses, organisations and individuals within a wide range of specialist market sectors: including transport and logistics and international trade, through to retail, insurance, marine, health, education, manufacturing, public sector and banking and financial services.

Travel team:

•           ‘Hill Dickinson LLP is “excellent for travel personal injury”, and is also noted for its “strong” commercial and regulatory practice. Team head Maria Pittordis “is a powerhouse of work” and has “excellent industry knowledge”. Joanna Kolatsis and Saleema Brohi are also recommended.’ Legal 500, 2014

Aviation team:

•           ‘Hill Dickinson LLP’s “client friendly” aviation practice is now a “growing force to be reckoned with” following the arrival of the “outstandingly experienced” Joanna Kolatsis and Saleema Brohi, as well as Ping Cairns, Jeremy Robinson and the “brilliant” Neil McGilchrist (consultant) from Kennedys.’ Legal 500, 2014

Hill Dickinson has been recognised locally, regionally and nationally with awards for excellence in service delivery. Recent awards include:

•             Legal Services Team 11+ Partners Award, Claims Innovation Awards 2014

•             Investors in Diversity Awards 2013, National Centre for Diversity

•             Dispute Resolution Award, Liverpool Law Society Legal Awards 2013

•             Commercial Award, Liverpool Law Society Legal Awards 2013

•             Ultimate Challenge Award, The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge Awards 2013

For further information about the firm and its partners please visit www.hilldickinson.com

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