If a lawsuit lasts nearly a dozen years, it's got to be looking good for the plaintiff, right? Surely the defendant's inability to get the case finally dismissed for all that time means that they're going to have to eventually settle the thing, right?
Not at all.
This case lasts exactly that long, and goes up to the Ninth Circuit three times. Plaintiff won the first two times. The Ninth Circuit first held that plaintiff's claims were not preempted by the Friendship, Commerce and Navigation treaty. The second time, it held that those claims were not preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act.
But the third time was a charm for Japan Airlines. At that point, the Ninth Circuit held that the claims were preempted by the Federal Aviation Act.
Too bad Japan Airlines hadn't started with that one. It would have saved a lot of time and money.