United Airlines passenger employs lawyers over forceful removal


LAWYERS for the passenger dragged from a United Airlines plane in Chicago filed an emergency request with an Illinois state court on Wednesday to require the carrier to preserve video recordings and other evidence related to the incident.

Citing the risk of ‘serious prejudice’ to their client, Dr. David Dao, the lawyers want United and the City of Chicago, which runs O’Hare International Airport, to preserve surveillance videos, cockpit voice recordings, passenger and crew lists, and other materials related to United Flight 3411.

Chicago’s Aviation Department said on Wednesday that two more officers had been placed on leave in connection with the April 9 incident, during which airport security officers dragged Dao from his seat aboard a United jet headed for Louisville, Kentucky. One officer was placed on leave on Tuesday.

Paul Callan, a civil and criminal trial lawyer in New York, said the public outcry over Dao’s treatment would likely push the airline to a quick and generous settlement.

United Chief Executive Oscar Munoz on Wednesday apologised to Dao, his family and United customers in an ABC News interview, saying the company would no longer use law enforcement officers to remove passengers from overbooked flights.

Munoz is under pressure to contain a torrent of bad publicity and calls for boycotts against United unleashed by videos that captured Dao’s rough treatment by airline and airport security staff.

Dao was removed to make room for additional crew members, United said.

Footage from the incident shows Dao, bloodied and disheveled, returning to the cabin and repeating: ‘Just kill me. Kill me,’ and ‘I have to go home.’

As of Tuesday, Dao was still in a Chicago hospital recovering from his injuries, his lawyer said.

On Wednesday, United said it would compensate all passengers on board the flight the cost of their tickets.

Some U.S. lawmakers called for new rules that could make it more difficult for airlines to overbook flights as a tool for increasing revenue.

U.S. President Donald Trump said it was ‘horrible’ that Dao was dragged off the flight, according to an interview from the Wall Street Journal.

Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate committee that oversees transportation have questioned United’s actions.

But Delta Air Lines Inc CEO Ed Bastian on Wednesday defended overbooking as ‘a valid business practice’ that does not require additional oversight by the government.

‘It’s not a question, in my opinion, as to whether you overbook,’ Bastian said on a call with Reuters analysts. ‘It’s how you manage an overbook situation.’

The backlash from the incident resonated around the world, with social media users in the United States, China and Vietnam calling for boycotts of the No. 3 U.S. carrier by passenger traffic and an end to the practice of overbooking flights.

Shares of United Continental closed 1.1 percent lower at $69.93. They fell as much as 4.4 percent on Tuesday.

Two online petitions calling for Munoz to step down as CEO had more than 124,000 signatures combined by Wednesday afternoon. Munoz told ABC he had no plans to resign over the incident.

© No part of this web site may be reproduced without written permission from the publishers. All rights reserved. Todos los derechos reservados.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

We welcome comments from readers on our website and across our social networks. We invite you to discuss issues and share your views and we encourage robust debate and criticism provided it is civil.

However we reserve the right to reject or edit comments that:

• Contain offensive language
• Include personal attacks of any kind
• Are likely to offend or target any ethnic, racial, nationality or religious group
• Are homophobic, transphobic, sexist, offensive or obscene
• Contain spam or include links to other sites
• Are clearly off topic
• Impersonate an individual or organisation, are fraudulent, defamatory of any person, threatening or invasive of another’s privacy or otherwise illegal
• Are trolling or threatening
• Promote, advertise or solicit the sale of any goods or services

You grant us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, worldwide licence to republish any material you submit to us, without limitation, in any format.