Summary: After being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight, a Kentucky doctor has hired a prominent lawyer to join his legal team.
After a humiliating public manhandling, a Louisville doctor has hired a well-regarded Chicago lawyer to gear up for a possible lawsuit.
Earlier this week, cell phone footage of Dr. David Dao being dragged off an airplane went viral, and millions around the country expressed their shock at the violence and harm he experienced.
The doctor had refused to deboard a United Airlines Flight from Chicago to Louisville, so crew members called the police who grabbed him out of his seat and roughly pulled him by the arms off the plane. Dao received injuries because of the forceful removal, and a follow-up video showed him with a bloodied head, whispering sadly to himself “Kill me.”
After Dao’s dragging, he underwent treatment at a hospital in Chicago.
According to TMZ, Dao, 69, had hit his head on the arm rests, and anonymous United crew members said the injuries he sustained could have been avoided. They also said that the violent removal procedure was unwarranted.
DNA Info reported that Dao swiftly hired Tom Demetrio of Chicago’s Corboy & Demetrio after the incident. The law firm is well-known for handling aviation and personal injury cases, and Demetrio was the former president of the Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.
Demetrio is joining Dao’s other lawyer Stephen L. Golan of Golan Christie Taglia.
Time Magazine said that Dao’s legal team has already filed a petition in Cook County Circuit Court to seize evidence related to the case. While there has not been a lawsuit filed against United Airlines yet, with Dao’s emotional distress and visible injuries, a lawsuit seems inevitable.
“The family of Dr. Dao wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received. Currently, they are focused only on Dr. Dao’s medical care and treatment,” Golan said in a statement on Tuesday.
United Airlines said that Dao had been “belligerent” when he was informed that he had to deboard the flight that he had paid for because the airline had overbooked the flight and needed seats for four crew members.
It is a customary practice for the airline to overbook flights, and to remove extra passengers, they usually offer financial incentives such as money, plane tickets, or a free hotel room to get passengers to volunteer themselves to be moved to another flight. For this flight, however, no one was willing to volunteer so United chose candidates at random.
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz initially botched the company response when he tried to explain his crew’s actions as them “re-accommodating” Dao. He further added kindlewood to the public’s angry fire when he tried to blame Dao’s bad attitude as the cause of the violent Sunday incident.
On Tuesday, Munoz appeared more contrite in a written public apology.
“The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened,” Munoz said in his statement. “Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard.”
Since the incident, skeletons in Dao’s closet has surfaced, even though they have no bearing on the police’s decision to manhandle him on United Flight 3411.
According to DNA Info, an official from the Chicago Aviation Department said that the officer who had grabbed Dao has been suspended.
“The incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure, and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department,” Karen Pride of the Aviation Department said.
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