Qantas Ordered by Judge to Turn Over Passenger List

Qantas Airways Ltd. must turn over the passenger list of a 2010 flight to an employee who is suing Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc over an engine explosion on that trip, a judge ruled.

New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Robert Beech-Jones said the manifest, including passengers’ names, addresses and phone numbers, will allow the employee to determine how many people may become members of the group lawsuit. That will enable proceedings to be carried out more efficiently, the judge wrote in his June 19 ruling.

Part of a Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine casing blew off shortly after the A380 plane left Singapore on Nov. 4, 2010, sending shrapnel through a wing and fuselage, according to a preliminary report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. None of the 469 people on board was physically injured in the incident, which led Qantas to ground its entire fleet of the Airbus SAS jet for more than three weeks.

Sandy Lam, 31, a flight attendant, claimed to have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and a “major depressive disorder,” according to the judge. Lam sued seeking unspecified damages on behalf of all people on board the aircraft who suffered psychological injury.

The judge rejected Qantas’s assertion that the demand for the passenger list was premature and a “fishing expedition” by Lam, according to the ruling.

“The entire concept of an opt-out representative action involves a form of ‘fishing,’ because plaintiffs don’t know how many people involved will be in similar circumstances,” Beech-Jones wrote. “The obtainment of details from the passenger manifest facilitates those matters being ascertained earlier and more cheaply.”

The engine explosion was caused by an oil leak and subsequent fire, according to the safety regulator’s report. Rolls-Royce has revised procedures since the incident, it said.

The case is Sandy Lam v. Rolls Royce Plc. 2013/37342. Supreme Court of New South Wales (Sydney).

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