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Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Sues Airline over Spouse’s COVID-19 Death

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Sues Airline over Spouse’s COVID-19 Death
Joe Cortez

A Southwest Airlines flight attendant is taking her airline to court, claiming the carrier may have been responsible for her spouse’s death. In the lawsuit, she claims a mandatory training event in 2020 directly lead to her husband contracting COVID-19, and ultimately dying from the viral infection.

A flight attendant claims her attendance at a 2020 mandatory training may have led to her husband’s untimely death from COVID-19, and is seeking compensation from Southwest Airlines as a result. The Detroit Free Press reports 69-year-old Carol Madden is suing the Dallas-based carrier for over $3 million in damages over alleged wrongful death.

Relaxed COVID-19 Protocols Allegedly Connected to Husband’s Death

Madden is a cancer survivor who has been working for Southwest since 2016. Although she continued to work during the pandemic, she is now accusing the airline of relaxed COVID-19 protocols, which may have resulted in her husband’s infection.

The allegations stem from a mandatory one-day training seminar at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI). According to Madden, her husband picked her up and drove her home once the event was complete. Days later, he tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced into hospitalization. Weeks after the diagnosis, Madden’s husband passed away from the viral infection, with “COVID pneumonia” listed as the cause of death.

“I love my airline, but they didn’t love me back,” Madden told the Detroit Free Press. She added that she believes that if there were stricter COVID-19 precautions, she would not have lost her husband.

Although Southwest has not commented on the allegations in the lawsuit, the newspaper reports attorneys for the airline have filed a motion for dismissal. In their documents, the airline sympathized with Madden for her loss, but claims that they created a “reasonably safe working environment,” and say blaming them for the death is “misplaced.”

Suit Marks Second Time Southwest Stands Accused of Cutting COVID Corners

Madden’s accusations mark the second time Southwest faced allegations of not following COVID-19 protocols. In August 2020, the airline changed direction on their cleaning procedures as they began expanding their schedule.

View Comments (6)


  1. vargha

    April 28, 2021 at 10:07 am

    Comorbidities for the deceased? Did he go anywhere else? Did she go anywhere else? On the surface, it seems like a money grab.

  2. Loren Pechtel

    April 28, 2021 at 11:02 am

    He got infected but she didn’t?? Doesn’t sound like the training event was where he got it.

  3. health1au

    April 28, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    I’m getting up there! Soon I’ll have to be looking for my retirement plan too.

  4. jamesteroh

    April 29, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    The only way he could have caught it for sure was if that was the only time he left the house and only human contact he had. Was she tested for antibodie’s to be sure she was asyptmatic?

    Even if he did catch it from her how do they know it was from that trip? If she is a flight attendant that was working she could have easily caught it from anyone in the terminal or at the grocery store or at the hotel they over night at, etc.

    If she is that old and her husband was in the bad of health she should have taken a furlough.

  5. bozacksmith

    April 30, 2021 at 10:17 am

    He didn’t even have to leaver the house to catch it? Did they get deliveries? Can they prove they wiped down every single thing that they ever touched or brought in the home??
    Scum bag attornies

  6. worldwidedreamer

    May 4, 2021 at 9:50 am

    For what it is worth I flew Southwest in August, and mask rules were not enforced. Until vaccination rates go up afraid to fly them, and either way will most likely go from being a multi-year A-list and CP holder to neither going forward.

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