American Airlines in Fight with Museum Over Fish

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In a real-life fish tale a big airline is going head to head with a big museum. American Airlines this week filed court papers in an attempt to limit its liability after it was sued by the American Museum of Natural History in New York over the loss of dead fish.

At issue are two barrels of African fish, checked as luggage – not cargo -- by a researcher's wife, reports the New York Post.

The museum sued American Airlines last year in federal court, accusing the carrier of destroying the barrels, which museum officials said contained rare specimens collected by researchers from rivers in the Congo. The fish were headed to a museum laboratory.

On the way from Africa, the barrels apparently missed a connection in Brussels. American flew the fish on a later flight – as delayed luggage.

When they arrived in the U.S., the barrels were leaking and smelly and maggots were discovered, the airline says – the museum disputes this saying the fish were preserved in formaldehyde and sealed in two layers of plastic bags. In any event, the barrels were destroyed.

The museum is seeking $25,000 for the cost of collecting and transporting the fish. American says in its counter claim that since the barrels were checked as baggage it shouldn't have to pay more than $634.90 per barrel, or the same you'd get for a destroyed or lost suitcase of the same weight, the Post reports.

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