International airlines are required to collect a government “tourism tax” of about $22 per person from passengers flying into Mexico.  Persons staying in Mexico for less than 24 hours, children under age 2, diplomats, Mexican citizens and residents are exempt from tax.  Here, a Mexican citizen sued a Mexican airline in the U.S., for collecting the tax from her, but not providing a notice or forms allowing her to obtain an exemption refund.  The defendant airline removed the California state lawsuit to federal court, and then obtained dismissal of the case based on preemption of claims by the federal Airline Deregulation Act because they relate to the airline’s “price[s], route[s], or service[s]” (49 U.S. Code Section 41713(b)(1)).  The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld this federal preemption and dismissal of the passenger suit, over the dissent of one judge who questions who is now keeping the $22 tax amount collected from exempt passengers, since the airline has no refund process, and no tax on exempt persons is owed to the Mexican government.  (Sanchez v. AeroMexico, 9th Cir. 08-55588, January 5, 2010)

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