If you sue a company in small claims court and they don’t bother to show up to defend themselves… you win. That’s what happened to one Michigan woman who sued Spirit Airlines after they stranded her at the Detroit Metro airport and then refused to rebook her canceled flights. From USAToday:
Jane Waun sued Spirit Airlines in the small claims division of 54B District Court in East Lansing, Mich., as a last resort this spring after trying unsuccessfully to resolve her beef with the airline directly.
She won her case last Monday mainly because Spirit never showed up for the original hearing and didn’t have a good excuse. But the judgment reimburses her hotel and meal costs, a lost night at her destination and the four tickets she had to purchase on a different airline.
Will other passengers fed up with airline bad behavior now haul them off to small claims court, too?
“I’d encourage them to give it a shot,” says aviation attorney Don Frank of Okemos. Even if you don’t win, “it can be cathartic.”
In Waun’s case, Spirit Airlines likely will pay the judgment “and move forward,” says spokeswoman Alison Russell.
Still, Waun, 55, who never sued anyone before, likely won’t get the one thing she really wants — an apology.
“If Spirit just would have admitted their error and apologized,” she says, “I would have flown them again.”
Waun won $1,350.75 from the airline. She won a default judgment after Spirit failed to show up in court. The airline filed a motion for rehearing, but it was too late. Waun had won.