California residents may be aware that the Supreme Court agreed to consider the scope of the court's ability to deny immunity to an airline in connection with reporting erroneous security threats to U.S. authorities.

The case before the court stems from a report by Air Wisconsin Airlines regarding the mental state of a passenger prior to boarding a flight in 2004.

An Air Wisconsin pilot faced dismissal from his job after failing a series of flight simulator tests and an angry confrontation with his instructor. Air Wisconsin officials also knew he was trained to carry a firearm in the cockpit but did not know if he was carrying a gun at the time. Stating concerns about his mental state, officials pulled him off the flight, questioned him and later allowed him to fly home. He later sued the airline for defamation and other actions.

Air Wisconsin was denied immunity after the Colorado Supreme Court found it to have "overstated" its concerns; the pilot was awarded $1.4 million. The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments specifically with respect to whether a court may deny immunity to an airline before making a determination as to the material validity of the reported security threat. Proponents of a broad grant of immunity argue that over-reporting is better than under-reporting and denying immunity in this case will dampen the airline industry's motivation to report suspicious activity. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case during its next term beginning in October.

In cases such as this one, a lawyer experienced in business litigation may be of use to the company at hand. A lawyer may be able to assist business owners in forming or fighting a case.

Source: USA Today, "Supreme Court to hear case about airline security threats", Bart Jansen, June 17, 2013