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The Chicago lawyer for the United Airlines passenger who was violently dragged from a flight at O'Hare International Airport said Monday that a face-to-face apology from the company's CEO wouldn't stop an eventual lawsuit from his client, who suffered a broken nose and a concussion in the incident earlier this month. During an interview on NBC's "Today" show, attorney Thomas Demetrio also revealed that he is representing the American Airlines passenger who was involved in a confrontation with a flight attendant aboard a recent flight from San Francisco to Dallas-Fort Worth.
In talking about why a lawsuit is likely to go forward, Demetrios said his physically injured client — Dr. David Dao of Kentucky — wants to illustrate the unfair treatment customers are receiving from airlines when they travel. Dao was one of four passengers bumped from United flight 3411 on April 9 to accommodate airline employees who needed to fly. When he refused to give up his seat, Dao was forcibly removed from the plane by Chicago Aviation Police. Three officers from that agency have been placed on administrative leave while their roles in ejecting Dao from the flight are reviewed.
"He's hurt,'' Demetrio said during Monday's interivew. "And he really is of the mindset … that this is an example — and the American Airlines incident [involving Demetrio's other client] — an example of why we need fairness, dignity and being treated right."
Demterio also was asked if there was footage that showed why the situation between Dao and airport security officers escalated the way it did.
"There may be. I don't have it," he said. "But I'm hoping with all the passengers on that plane, we'll eventually have it."
Patch's United Flight 3411 Coverage:
: The exec's decision comes a day after the airline missed its deadline to respond to a Senate inquiry about the recent passenger-dragging.
No United Firings Over Passenger Dragging At O'Hare: CEO: United CEO Oscar Munoz said the company never considered firing employees over the recent violent removal of a passenger from a flight.
>Crew Members Will Be Booked 60 Minutes Before Departure Under New Policy:
>Crew Members Will Be Booked 60 Minutes Before Departure Under New Policy:The policy comes after passenger Dr. David Dao was dragged off a flight and left bloodied when he did not give up his seat for a crew member.
>Passenger Dragged From Flight Suffered Concussion, Broken Nose:
>Passenger Dragged From Flight Suffered Concussion, Broken Nose:VIDEO: A lawsuit likely after United forced a doctor off the plane to "re-accommodate" him so an airline employee could take his seat.
>2 More Chicago Aviation Cops Suspended:
>2 More Chicago Aviation Cops Suspended:PLUS: Passengers will get refunds | Congresswoman wants to end bumping.
United Won't Use Police To Pull Paid Passengers From Flights, Airline CEO Says: VIDEO: United CEO Oscar Munoz called Sunday's incident on a flight out of Chicago a "system failure" during an ABC News interview.
Since video of Dao's dragging spread across social media, Chicago-based United Airlines has been dealing with the consumer outrage and public relations fallout from the events aboard that now-infamous flight. In the aftermath of the incident, the carrier has made changes to its policies dealing with how passengers are removed and when airline employees must be booked on flights. United CEO Oscar Munoz — who last week elected not to automatically become the company's board chairman in 2018 — has said the airline plans to release a full review of the incident by April 30.
In the interview, Demetrio blamed Munoz's handling of the situation as one of the contributing factors for a future lawsuit.
"Mr. Munoz had that opportunity to publicly, first of all, apologize, and he didn't,'' the lawyer said. "Then he called the doctor belligerent. Then he finally said mea culpa. I think we're past that stage of meeting Mr. Munoz personally to say anything."
Negotiations concerning a settlement have not happened with the airlines, Demetrio said. But while he is confident a lawsuit against United is a foregone conclusion, legal action on behalf of his other high-profile, air passenger client isn't a certainty.
In that case, witnesses claim an American Airlines flight attendant grabbed a stroller from Demetrio's client, almost striking one of the woman's two small children. The attendant's actions upset another passenger, who demanded the employee's name. The second passenger and the flight attendant begin yelling at each other, with the passenger saying, "You do that to me and I'll knock you flat!" and the employee responding, "Hit me, hit me!"
"The video that we just saw is a microscom of the entire problem," he said. "We've got a flight attendant out of control. We've got a distressed mother. We've got a passenger trying to protect that mother."
The attendant immediately shouts back, and the two get into a heated argument, but no punches are thrown. The woman can be seen and heard crying throughout the ordeal.
American Airlines quickly apologized for the incident after video of it surfaced Friday. The carrier also suspended the flight attendant in the video. Both airline incidents point to a new consumer reality that businesses must learn to navigate, Demetrio said.
"We live in the days of cellphone videos, so corporations have to take heed," he said.
Chicago lawyer Thomas Demetrio talks to reporters during a press conference April 13. (photo by Scott Olson | Getty Images News | Getty Images)
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Source : https://patch.com/illinois/chicago/chicago-lawyer-united-passenger-dragging-will-represent-american-airlines-customer