Can Doctor Thrown off United Flight Sue?
United Likely Violated Passenger’s Rights
The media is abuzz over the Monday mistreatment of a doctor on a United Airlines flight.
CNN reported on the rising backlash against the airline. The public outcry is swift. A police officer is already on leave. United’s own CEO faces severe criticism. Passengers were horrified watching the situation. While airlines bumped 46,000 in 2015 alone, the practice is under heavy criticism. The company’s CEO already issued an apology. Dr. David Dao was on his way to complete his duties as a physician. However, United staff and police had other ideas.
At least one passenger believed airline personnel targeted Dr. Dao because of his Chinese descent. Police and United crew carried the bloodied doctor off the plane in now infamous cell phone footage. In addition, the airline bumped the doctor to make room for another member of their staff.
The situation on Flight 3411 unfolded quickly. Dr. Dao originally agreed to the idea of being bumped. However, they changed their minds once they learned the next flight wasn’t until 2:30 Monday. While being forcibly removed from the plane, his head hit an armrest. Blood flowed out of his mouth and he was partially disrobed. The family’s attorney spoke out on the case, appreciating the outpouring of public support.
Video of United Passenger Removed from Flight
Watch the video below to see the situation unfold on the flight:
The New York Times reported that the story is causing a furor in China, as well. This damages the company’s reputation in an emerging market.
Many United passengers chopped up their credit cards while others dumped their stocks. United’s profile looks very poor, especially under the circumstances.
Their market value already fell $1 billion. The Chicago Department of Aviation said that the incident was not in accordance with their standard operating procedure and that the officer involved is placed on leave. An investigation will follow. United’s plans to hold an investigation are too little too late.
The doctor has the complete right to sue. Due to the fact that this is a private matter, he can challenge the airline directly. In addition, the flight was not actually overbooked. While the term has been used, the seat was meant for another United crew member. This is a breach of contract, pure and simple. The airline is a public state actor under U.S. v. Price civil rights precedent. Dr. Dao also has a firm case against the law enforcement officers that caused him involuntary bodily harm. This is a civil matter between Dr. Dao’s family and the individual officers or the police department. Each of these represent a breach of his fundamental rights of travel.
All of these issues will not solve the underlying problems of United’s treatment of passengers. However, it will increase the spotlight on these policies and how they affect the average person. We here at the Ehline Law Firm APLC will watch the case and update our readers as it unfolds. It looks like there will be plenty more to talk about in the coming week as the fallout grows.