By now, we’ve all read the stories and seen the video of the recent United Airlines passenger who was removed, rather violently, from a flight due to apparent overbooking. Turns out, said traveller is planning on filing a lawsuit against the airline because of the incident. According to David Dao’s lawyers, the doctor, 69 years of age, suffered a broken nose and concussion when officials forcefully removed him from the plane.
Dao’s lawyers are requesting that the case’s evidence be preserved via a ‘chancery motion’ filing. A lawsuit has yet to be filed, but Thomas Demetrio, Dao’s lawyer, has recently stated that they have two years to do this and it won’t take them that long to file. It is being reported that the Illinois’ Cook County Circuit Court is where the lawsuit will be filed, as Dao’s attorney indicated that both United and the city of Chicago would be targeted for the suit, as officials from the city’s Department of Aviation participated in Dao’s removal on that infamous flight.
Sadly, in addition to Dao’s concussion and nose being broken, the doctor suffered a loss of his two front teeth and is said to be dealing with sinus injury issues. His attorney indicated that he will need reconstructive surgery as a result.
The worst part of this entire situation is that it may not have been an overbooking that caused the incident, as previously stated by United. According to Demetrio, it seems that four United employees simply had to get to work for the following day. United agreed with this statement on April 13th, claiming the flight had no empty seats and four employees needed to board the flight to catch another plane in Louisville.
It seems that United initially promised compensation for passengers to voluntarily move to another flight, but when this didn’t work, Dao was chosen at random. While he and his wife agreed at first, they reneged when both realized that the next plane wouldn’t be leaving until the morning after. As one passenger relates, Dao simply explained that he had to be home by tomorrow, as he is a doctor. Dao’s wife is also a physician and had patient appointments the next day as well. According to passengers, Dao was not aggressive or argumentative, rather only got a little upset when a second security agent came to him, and demanded he leave the flight. These passengers also stated that Dao never raised his voice during the conversation.
CNN advises that while Oscar Munoz, United Airlines CEO, has offered an apology, Dao’s lawyer has accepted it, but feels that it was too staged. The three officers part of Chicago’s Department of Aviation that were involved in the incident are currently on a paid leave.
Hopefully Dao can recovery from his injuries and be compensated for his trauma around this tragedy. On April 13th, United stated that it plans to make this right and changes to its policies are well underway. Three big ones are: unless it is a security matter, law enforcement will not get involved in removing passengers; review around crew movement policies as well as oversold flights and changes to flights are underway; lastly, bettering around training programs to ensure clients are put first are being looked into.
Here’s hoping these strategies can help improve processes over at United in the wake of a scandal that affecting the company’s bottom line.
(Photo Credit Courtesy of Fox News, Station 32)