CALIFORNIA- Atlanta based major US carrier, Delta Air Lines (DL), has requested a federal judge to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges the U.S. carrier deceived consumers by promoting itself as carbon neutral.
In a motion for dismissal filed in a Los Angeles federal court on Friday, the company argued that the complaint, representing California residents who claim to have been misled by Delta’s advertising, is preempted by federal law.
Delta Carbon-Neutral Claims Lawsuit
The Airline Deregulation Act prohibits states from enforcing laws that impact airline rates, routes, or services.
Delta asserted that the claims made in the lawsuit directly challenge the core purpose of this law, as they pertain to state law allegations and the contractual relationship between an airline and its customers.
The legal representatives for the potential class did not provide an immediate response when asked for comment on Monday.
The legal action, which asserts violations of state laws safeguarding consumer interests and prohibiting unjust and deceitful business practices, was initiated by a California resident who purchased Delta tickets with the intention of participating in “environmentally conscious air travel.”
The lawsuit claims that the individual would not have acquired the tickets at the given price had they been aware of the allegedly misleading environmental statements.
The lawsuit claims that Delta is failing to fulfill its advertising assertions, which portray the Atlanta-headquartered airline as “the world’s first carbon-neutral airline.”
The complaint alleges that these statements could reasonably lead consumers to believe that Delta has effectively counterbalanced its carbon dioxide emissions since it started making these neutrality declarations in March 2020.
However, the lawsuit points out that the carbon offset market, an optional and loosely organized consortium of companies and non-profit organizations, is fraught with inaccuracies in accounting and other issues.
This, in turn, renders Delta’s assertions “blatantly and demonstrably untrue,” as stated in the legal action.
A spokesperson from Delta expressed in a statement to Reuters that the lawsuit lacks legal validity. Further emphasizing that the company has redirected its attention from carbon offsets since 2022.
Instead, Delta has been focusing on alternative decarbonization approaches, such as the advancement of sustainable aviation fuel.
Further, numerous international airlines have pledged to achieve “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2050, partly by utilizing offsets. However, critics argue that offsets do not effectively reduce actual emissions.
The lawsuit is known as Berrin v. Delta Air Lines Inc. and is filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California under case number 2:23-cv-04150.
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