Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Frank Burdell was the Far Eastern representative of an American heavy-equipment company, stationed in Singapore. At the end of February 1966, Burdell traveled to Tokyo on a Singapore-Bangkok-Hong Kong-Tokyo and return ticket, purchased in Singapore from Cathay Pacific but using Canadian Pacific Airlines for the Hong Kong--Tokyo portion of the journey. Canadian Pacific's flight 402 from Hong Kong to Tokyo on March 4, 1966, arrived over Tokyo in a fog, circled for about an hour, finally came in to land, and crashed into the rear wall at the end of the runway killing its crew of ten and all but ten of its sixty-two passengers, including Burdell. Burdell was 40 years old at the time of his death and was earning about $15,000 per year. He left a wife, Lois, aged 32, and three children, 18, 9, and 7 years old.

Shortly after the accident, Mrs. Burdell and her children returned to the United States, and in due course they brought suit against Canadian Pacific Airlines in the Circuit Court, Cook County, Illinois, Judge Nicholas J. Bua presiding.

Canadian Pacific had an office in Chicago, and was properly served. Apparently the suit was commenced before the statute of limitations of any possible jurisdiction had run. Apart from these two points, everything else was confusion. This Comment takes up some of the issues raised in along and in some ways surprising opinion of Judge Nicholas J. Bua in the Circuit Court, Cook County, Illinois, November 7, 1968.