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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Air Wisconsin Airlines, overturning a previous defamation judgment.

Wisconsin airline wins defamation case

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Air Wisconsin Airlines, overturning a previous defamation judgment against the company won by one of its pilots.

William Hoeper, the pilot, had won a $1.4 million case in Colorado state court after airline employees told the Transportation Security Administration that Hoeper was “mentally unstable” and could be carrying a weapon, prompting TSA agents to pull Hoeper off a plane. Hoeper had recently failed a flight simulator test.

The Supreme Court voted, 6-3, that the airline had immunity from the suit, finding that the statements made about Hoeper’s mental state and his potential possession of a weapon were “not material.” The court said that immunity was essential to “encourage air carriers and their employees, often in fast-moving situations and with little time to fine-tine their diction, to provide the TSA immediately with information about potential threats.”

 

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