Andrea Barber would rather sue than be satisfied

The Madison County Record Apr. 3, 2011, 3:12am

Rolling Stone Mick Jagger can't get no satisfaction and Andrea Barber won't accept it when it's offered to her.

Barber bought a ticket for an American Airlines flight from Chicago to White Plains, N.Y. in August 2008 and paid $40 to check two bags, but the flight was canceled and she elected not to take another.

An American Airlines counter agent refunded the price of her ticket but would not return the $40 baggage fee, allegedly claiming it was not corporate policy "to refund fees paid by ticket holders for transportation of luggage in conjunction with a passenger flight when that flight is cancelled by the airline and the passenger does not accept another flight."

That's not a very customer-friendly policy, and arguably obnoxious, but is it grounds for a lawsuit? If you're Barber, it is.

Four days later, she filed a class action complaint against American Airlines in Cook County Circuit Court. Three weeks after that, the airline contacted her attorney, Howard C. Goode of Northbrook, Ill., and offered to refund her fee and consider paying the court costs she had incurred.

At that point, Barber could have gotten satisfaction, but Goode declined the offer on her behalf, determined to proceed with the class action. A few weeks later, the airline refunded the $40 fee to Barber's credit card and notified Goode of the reimbursement.

The following month, American Airlines moved to dismiss Barber's complaint on the grounds that their refund of the fee in question had made it moot. In March 2009, the Court granted the motion, but Barber appealed and the appellate court reversed the circuit court's decision.

Finally last week, the Illinois Supreme Court overruled the appellate court, affirming the lower court's decision.

Barber got her baggage fee back more than two years ago, but wasn't satisfied. Where might taxpayers go for satisfaction since their money in various taxpayer--supported courthouses was expended on this self-centered suit?

Where's our refund for her flight of fancy that never got off the ground?

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