The passenger who was violently dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight on Sunday night will file a lawsuit against the company, his lawyer Thomas Demetrio said at a press conference on Thursday. Already, attorneys have filed a chancery motion asking that all evidence in the case be preserved.
Though the attorney did not provide a timeline for filing the lawsuit, CNN quoted him as saying that he had two years to do so, and “I promise you it won’t be that long.” Demetrio said the passenger, 69-year-old David Dao, has a serious concussion, a broken nose, injury to the sinuses, and lost two front teeth as a result of the incident, adding the passenger also has psychological injuries because the rudeness of the treatment by security officials, Xinhua news agency reported.
During the same press conference, Dao’s daughter, Crystal Dao Pepper told reporters that “what happened to my dad should not have happened to any human being, regardless of the circumstances.”
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“We were horrified, and shocked, and sickened to learn what had happened to him and to see what had happened to him. We hope that in the future, nothing like this happens again.”
Pepper thanked the medical team and people from around the world for what she described as an “outpouring of prayers, love, and concern”. Video of the incident, which has gone viral on social media, shows three security officers from the Chicago Department of Aviation pulling the passenger out of his seat, and in the ensuing struggle, hitting his head on the armrest.
The video then shows that Dao was dragged off the plane by the arms. During a press conference on Thursday morning, the attorney told reporters that the City of Chicago bears responsibility as well.
“So were these three officers, these storm troopers, for a moment, doing the right thing? No, not at all,” Demetrio said. “This was not a troubled passenger. This was not a nutjob. This was not a threat to anybody. Should he have been unceremoniously dragged out of that plane the way he was? He’s a 69-year-old man. Is that really the way we went to treat the aged disembarking that plane?”
United CEO Oscar Muñoz promised on Wednesday that police would not be used in the future to remove passengers from the firm’s aircraft in the event of overbooking, and he expressed his “shame” over the incident.
“He was a paying passenger, sitting on our seat in our aircraft and no one should be treated that way period,” Munoz said.