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Airline Wins Victory |In Sexual Assault Case

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A California appeals court has denied a new trial to a minor who fell asleep on a United Airlines flight home to Korea and allegedly woke up to find the man sitting next to her holding her hand "on or near his penis."

The plaintiff sued United for negligence, claiming it failed to protect her from passenger Richard Samson. But the trial court granted summary judgment to the airline on the basis that the plaintiff had not suffered "bodily harm" within the meaning of the Warsaw Convention governing international flights.

The plaintiff successfully moved for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence, including a psychologist's declaration that the alleged sexual assault had "profound effects" on the plaintiff and caused her to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The appeals court said the trial court erred in granting a new trial, since the plaintiff suffered no physical harm.

"Nothing in the language of (the treaty) suggests that a passenger may recover for physical contact, however offensive, that does not result in some bodily injury," Justice Manella wrote.

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