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Advice - Want to sue Lufthansa

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Hello all,

I am interested in advice any of you may have on the following matter: a couple months ago, I flew into Frankfurt from the US with the intent to connect on to Tel Aviv. When I checked in from the US, I received boarding passes for both flights. My layover in Frankfurt was brief (1 hour) and my flight from the US was delayed such that we got in only 30 minutes prior to the Frankfurt-Tel Aviv flight. Somewhat miraculously and running faster than I have in a long time, I arrived at the gate for the flight to Tel Aviv 20 minutes prior to the original departure time (it turned out the flight was delayed 20 minutes so I got their 40 minutes prior to the actual departure time). The last bits of boarding were still ongoing but when I presented my boarding pass, they advised me that I could not board because they had already given away my seat. However much I complained, they told me that I was not authorized to board.

I wrote to Lufthansa to complain and they said that since I had a connection time of less than 1 hour due to the delay of the incoming flight, they were allowed to rebook me and that I could not seek any damages from them (EU regulations provide for damages in the amount of up to 600 Euros for involuntarily being denied boarding).

Does anybody have any experience with anything like this? If I wanted to pursue Lufthansa in small claims court in the US, could I do so citing the EU Regulation or is that entirely inapplicable (even though it's cited in Lufthansa's General Conditions of Carriage). Any incite would be much appreciated.

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