U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number


2013 Term

Oral Argument Date

December 03, 2013


Questions Presented

Whether the court of appeals erred in holding, in contrast with the decisions of other circuits, that respondent’s implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing was not preempted under the Airline Deregulation Act because such claims are categorically unrelated to a price, route, or service, notwithstanding that respondent’s claim arises out of a frequent-flyer program (the precise context of American Airlines, Inc. v. Wolens ) and manifestly enlarged the terms of the parties’ undertakings, which allowed termination in Northwest’s sole discretion.

Case Updates

Supreme Court reverses Ninth Circuit's ADA decision

April 02, 2014

The Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Ninth Circuit's decision and held that the ADA pre-empts a state-law claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing if it seeks to enlarge the contractual obligations that the parties voluntarily adopt.

U.S. Chamber urges Supreme Court to reverse Ninth Circuit’s decision, which creates an end run around a well established preemption scheme in the airline sector

August 01, 2013

In its brief, the U.S. Chamber urged the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit's decision, arguing that the decision creates an end run around preemption that threatens to undermine the efficient operation of the national economy. The Ninth Circuit's ruling allows states to do through claims for breach of implied-by-law covenants what they cannot do through regulation. The Ninth Circuit's opinion has allowed a private plaintiff to enforce state policies that would enlarge or enhance an airline's self-imposed contractual obligations. The Chamber argued that those claims are contrary to Congress's determination in the Airline Deregulation Act that the airline industry functions best when its prices, routes, and services are governed solely by uniform national laws. The Chamber warned that if the decision is not reversed, the decision below would subject airlines to a panoply of claims based on state judges' and juries' views of whether the airlines had acted with sufficient “good faith” and “fair dealing.”

Case Documents