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Court Revives American Airlines Class Action

(CN) - American Airlines can't "pick off" a class action simply by refunding a woman's $40 baggage fee after a canceled flight, an Illinois appeals court ruled.

Andrea Barber filed a class action against the airline when her flight to Chicago's O'Haire Airport to White Plains, N.Y., was canceled. Barber claimed that because she refused to take another flight, the ticket agent would not refund her fee.

After Barber sued, American refunded her fee. That was enough to satisfy the trial court, which dismissed the case as moot.

Judge Robert Gordon saw things differently on appeal and reversed the decision. He ruled that American could not "pick off" the lawsuit simply by refunding the fee.

"By seeking discovery promptly and filing a motion to compel it, plaintiff exercised the required reasonable diligence in pursuing her class action claim," Gordon wrote.

"Thus, defendant's unilateral act of crediting plaintiff's credit card did not make plaintiff's claim moot," he added.

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