updated 1/29/2007 3:23:38 PM ET 2007-01-29T20:23:38

A U.S. man sued Continental Airlines on Monday, charging the carrier with negligence for allowing his wife to take their daughter out of the country without his consent while the couple were divorcing.

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Didier Combe charged in Boston federal court that the airline violated its own policies and Mexican law by not confirming that his then-wife, Aline Rivas-Vera, had his permission to bring their 2-year-old daughter, Chloe Combe-Rivas, on a Mexico-bound flight.

"The airline had every opportunity to prevent this horrific crime and did not," Combe said in a statement. "This airline failed to protect my little girl."

Rivas-Vera, a Mexican citizen, and her child Combe-Rivas, a U.S. citizen, in March 2006 flew from Kansas City, Missouri to Mexico City by way of Houston, according to court papers.

Combe charged that Continental violated its own policies and Mexican law by not requiring Rivas-Vera to show proof that she had her husband’s consent to remove their daughter from the United States.

Rivas-Vera also faces kidnapping charges in the United States, according to the suit.

The couple, who married in November 2003, separated in January 2006. Combe was granted custody of his daughter in April 2006 -- after she had been taken abroad -- and was granted a divorce on July 3.

Combe said in court papers that he has not seen his ex-wife or their daughter since March 2006.

Continental spokeswoman Julie King said the No. 4 U.S. airline had not yet seen the suit and so declined to comment.

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