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Man pulled off of overbooked flight UA3411 (ORD-SDF) 9 Apr 2017 {Settlement reached}

Man pulled off of overbooked flight UA3411 (ORD-SDF) 9 Apr 2017 {Settlement reached}

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Statement from United Airlines Regarding Resolution with Dr. David Dao - released 27 April 2017
CHICAGO, April 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- We are pleased to report that United and Dr. Dao have reached an amicable resolution of the unfortunate incident that occurred aboard flight 3411. We look forward to implementing the improvements we have announced, which will put our customers at the center of everything we do.
DOT findings related to the UA3411 9 April 2017 IDB incident 12 May 2017

What facts do we know?
  • UA3411, operated by Republic Airways, ORD-SDF on Sunday, April 9, 2017. UA3411 was the second to last flight to SDF for United. AA3509 and UA4771 were the two remaining departures for the day. Also, AA and DL had connecting options providing for same-day arrival in SDF.
  • After the flight was fully boarded, United determined four seats were needed to accommodate crew to SDF for a flight on Monday.
  • United solicited volunteers for VDB. (BUT stopped at $800 in UA$s, not cash). Chose not to go to the levels such as 1350 that airlines have been known to go even in case of weather impacted disruption)
  • After receiving no volunteers for $800 vouchers, a passenger volunteered for $1,600 and was "laughed at" and refused, United determined four passengers to be removed from the flight.
  • One passenger refused and Chicago Aviation Security Officers were called to forcibly remove the passenger.
  • The passenger hit the armrest in the aisle and received a concussion, a broken nose, a bloodied lip, and the loss of two teeth.
  • After being removed from the plane, the passenger re-boarded saying "I need to go home" repeatedly, before being removed again.
  • United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said the flight was sold out — but not oversold. Instead, United and regional affiliate Republic Airlines – the unit that operated Flight 3411 – decided they had to remove four passengers from the flight to accommodate crewmembers who were needed in Louisville the next day for a “downline connection.”

United Express Flight 3411 Review and Action Report - released 27 April 2017

Videos

Internal Communication by Oscar Munoz
Oscar Munoz sent an internal communication to UA employees (sources: View From The Wing, Chicago Tribune):
Dear Team,

Like you, I was upset to see and hear about what happened last night aboard United Express Flight 3411 headed from Chicago to Louisville. While the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this customer defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers the way he did, to give you a clearer picture of what transpired, I've included below a recap from the preliminary reports filed by our employees.

As you will read, this situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help. Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.

I do, however, believe there are lessons we can learn from this experience, and we are taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding this incident. Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are, and we must always remember this no matter how challenging the situation.

Oscar

Summary of Flight 3411
  • On Sunday, April 9, after United Express Flight 3411 was fully boarded, United's gate agents were approached by crewmembers that were told they needed to board the flight.
  • We sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process (including offering up to $1,000 in compensation) and when we approached one of these passengers to explain apologetically that he was being denied boarding, he raised his voice and refused to comply with crew member instructions.
  • He was approached a few more times after that in order to gain his compliance to come off the aircraft, and each time he refused and became more and more disruptive and belligerent.
  • Our agents were left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight. He repeatedly declined to leave.
  • Chicago Aviation Security Officers were unable to gain his cooperation and physically removed him from the flight as he continued to resist - running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both our crew and security officials.
Email sent to all employees at 2:08PM on Tuesday, April 11.
Dear Team,

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. 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. No one should ever be mistreated this way.

I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.

It’s never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what’s broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We’ll communicate the results of our review by April 30th.

I promise you we will do better.

Sincerely,

Oscar
Statement to customers - 27 April 2017
Each flight you take with us represents an important promise we make to you, our customer. It's not simply that we make sure you reach your destination safely and on time, but also that you will be treated with the highest level of service and the deepest sense of dignity and respect.

Earlier this month, we broke that trust when a passenger was forcibly removed from one of our planes. We can never say we are sorry enough for what occurred, but we also know meaningful actions will speak louder than words.

For the past several weeks, we have been urgently working to answer two questions: How did this happen, and how can we do our best to ensure this never happens again?

It happened because our corporate policies were placed ahead of our shared values. Our procedures got in the way of our employees doing what they know is right.

Fixing that problem starts now with changing how we fly, serve and respect our customers. This is a turning point for all of us here at United – and as CEO, it's my responsibility to make sure that we learn from this experience and redouble our efforts to put our customers at the center of everything we do.

That’s why we announced that we will no longer ask law enforcement to remove customers from a flight and customers will not be required to give up their seat once on board – except in matters of safety or security.

We also know that despite our best efforts, when things don’t go the way they should, we need to be there for you to make things right. There are several new ways we’re going to do just that.

We will increase incentives for voluntary rebooking up to $10,000 and will be eliminating the red tape on permanently lost bags with a new "no-questions-asked" $1,500 reimbursement policy. We will also be rolling out a new app for our employees that will enable them to provide on-the-spot goodwill gestures in the form of miles, travel credit and other amenities when your experience with us misses the mark. You can learn more about these commitments and many other changes at hub.united.com.

While these actions are important, I have found myself reflecting more broadly on the role we play and the responsibilities we have to you and the communities we serve.

I believe we must go further in redefining what United's corporate citizenship looks like in our society. If our chief good as a company is only getting you to and from your destination, that would show a lack of moral imagination on our part. You can and ought to expect more from us, and we intend to live up to those higher expectations in the way we embody social responsibility and civic leadership everywhere we operate. I hope you will see that pledge express itself in our actions going forward, of which these initial, though important, changes are merely a first step.

Our goal should be nothing less than to make you truly proud to say, "I fly United."

Ultimately, the measure of our success is your satisfaction and the past several weeks have moved us to go further than ever before in elevating your experience with us. I know our 87,000 employees have taken this message to heart, and they are as energized as ever to fulfill our promise to serve you better with each flight and earn the trust you’ve given us.

We are working harder than ever for the privilege to serve you and I know we will be stronger, better and the customer-focused airline you expect and deserve.

With Great Gratitude,

Oscar Munoz
CEO
United Airlines
Aftermath
Poll: Your Opinion of United Airlines Reference Material

UA's Customer Commitment says:
Occasionally we may not be able to provide you with a seat on a specific flight, even if you hold a ticket, have checked in, are present to board on time, and comply with other requirements. This is called an oversale, and occurs when restrictions apply to operating a particular flight safely (such as aircraft weight limits); when we have to substitute a smaller aircraft in place of a larger aircraft that was originally scheduled; or if more customers have checked in and are prepared to board than we have available seats.

If your flight is in an oversale situation, you will not be denied a seat until we first ask for volunteers willing to give up their confirmed seats. If there are not enough volunteers, we will deny boarding to passengers in accordance with our written policy on boarding priority. If you are involuntarily denied boarding and have complied with our check-in and other applicable rules, we will give you a written statement that describes your rights and explains how we determine boarding priority for an oversold flight. You will generally be entitled to compensation and transportation on an alternate flight.

We make complete rules for the payment of compensation, as well as our policy about boarding priorities, available at airports we serve. We will follow these rules to ensure you are treated fairly. Please be aware that you may be denied boarding without compensation if you do not check in on time or do not meet certain other requirements, or if we offer you alternative transportation that is planned to arrive at your destination or first stopover no later than one hour after the planned arrival time of your original flight.
CoC is here: https://www.united.com/web/en-US/con...-carriage.aspx
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:25 am
  #6226  
 
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA View Post
Wow someone sure is defensive of a negative opinion of UA, like it's not allowed or something.
Nope, just can recognize a statement that has holes in it. Not attacking the victim, just know that none of us saw exactly what occurred and to call someone a liar and they need to have action taken against them, well, I think that statement absent any proof of what they saw or were told seems to be hypocritical on it's face as it's calling for action against you for your written statement on FT absent facts.

Can you really think that in that resisting that there is a low probability (enough to say it didn't happen) that he struck at least 1 of the officers? While it may not have been intentional, I'd say there is a more likelihood of, than of not that in that violent exchange, of him striking an officer. I wasn't there, I have no inside knowledge, but I'd find it hard to believe that there was not a single blow to the officer in the resisting.

Now whether he was within his rights to resist, and possibly strike an officer in that action, I have zero clue on. I'd think no, but I'm sure there are many variables here that none/few of us are experts on.

Last edited by fastair; Apr 19, 17 at 3:43 am
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:45 am
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
Nope, just can recognize a statement that has holes in it. Not attacking the victim, just know that none of us saw exactly what occurred and to call someone a liar and they need to have action taken against them, well, I think that statement absent any proof of what they saw or were told seems to be hypocritical on it's face as it's calling for action against you for your written statement on FT absent facts.

Can you really think that in that resisting that there is a low probability (enough to say it didn't happen) that he struck at least 1 of the officers? While it may not have been intentional, I'd say there is a more likelihood of, than of not that in that violent exchange, of him striking an officer. I wasn't there, I have no inside knowledge, but I'd find it hard to believe that there was not a single blow to the officer in the resisting.
Calm down, no one is demanding that UA fire this person in real life (presumably). It's just an opinion. But I see your point of view in the second paragraph.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:48 am
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA View Post
Calm down, no one is demanding that UA fire this person in real life (presumably). It's just an opinion. But I see your point of view in the second paragraph.
And I think the question still needs to be answered authoritatively, did the DoA Police have the authority/right to remove him. If not, I would assume his right to resist is much stronger than if they did.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:49 am
  #6229  
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
Nope, just can recognize a statement that has holes in it. Not attacking the victim, just know that none of us saw exactly what occurred and to call someone a liar and they need to have action taken against them, well, I think that statement absent any proof of what they saw or were told seems to be hypocritical on it's face as it's calling for action against you for your written statement on FT absent facts.

Can you really think that in that resisting that there is a low probability (enough to say it didn't happen) that he struck at least 1 of the officers? While it may not have been intentional, I'd say there is a more likelihood of, than of not that in that violent exchange, of him striking an officer. I wasn't there, I have no inside knowledge, but I'd find it hard to believe that there was not a single blow to the officer in the resisting.

Now whether he was within his rights to resist, and possibly strike an officer in that action, I have zero clue on. I'd think no, but I'm sure there are many variables here that none/few of us are experts on.

We would like names of the individuals who were responsible for this screw up at the gate, in the aircraft and who called the airport police.

The general public have a right to know the names of the GA's.

They cannot expect the passenger's name to be dragged through the dirt whilst they get to hide away quietly hoping they get away scott free. Who know's they may do this again in the future.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:49 am
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
And I think the question still needs to be answered authoritatively, did the DoA Police have the authority/right to remove him. If not, I would assume his right to resist is much stronger than if they did.

Head's will roll when push comes to shove and compensation is discussed.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 3:59 am
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Originally Posted by wolf72 View Post
We would like names of the individuals who were responsible for this screw up at the gate, in the aircraft and who called the airport police.

The general public have a right to know the names of the GA's.

They cannot expect the passenger's name to be dragged through the dirt whilst they get to hide away quietly hoping they get away scott free. Who know's they may do this again in the future. Head's will roll when push comes to shove and compensation is discussed.
Likely at the DoA. Oscar already said no heads will role at UA. http://fortune.com/2017/04/18/united...assenger-jobs/ I guess after both sides have seen more evidence, he can re-evaluate that though although I doubt it will change, that statement was pretty public, on an investor call that was broadcast and transcribed.

As to the names, I don;t think it was UA who released the name of the passenger, doubt UA is releasing anything not already out there. Of course if it goes to trial, very little will remain private.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 4:14 am
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
Likely at the DoA. Oscar already said no heads will role at UA. http://fortune.com/2017/04/18/united...assenger-jobs/ I guess after both sides have seen more evidence, he can re-evaluate that though although I doubt it will change, that statement was pretty public, on an investor call that was broadcast and transcribed.

As to the names, I don;t think it was UA who released the name of the passenger, doubt UA is releasing anything not already out there. Of course if it goes to trial, very little will remain private.

Their names will come out...it's only a matter of time. They can run, but they can't hide.

The media will find out who these people are.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 5:07 am
  #6233  
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Originally Posted by wolf72 View Post
Their names will come out...it's only a matter of time. They can run, but they can't hide.

The media will find out who these people are.
Once discovery takes place in the civil suit, the names of all the people will be out there - including the cops and the UA personnel.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 5:27 am
  #6234  
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Originally Posted by wolf72 View Post
Would really like her name to be identified to the general public. The passenger has been literally dragged through this in the media (and some slander)..but the person in question who decided to call the police has remained hidden and unknown.

Anyone know who the individuals at UA who were responsible for this mess?
The names of all involved players should be public.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 5:35 am
  #6235  
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
And I think the question still needs to be answered authoritatively, did the DoA Police have the authority/right to remove him. If not, I would assume his right to resist is much stronger than if they did.
The Chicago Department of Aviation Security people are not police. Your removal question is why this case should go to trial. Otherwise the public will never know the full details, all parties would settle, and no fault would be admitted.

Last edited by Boggie Dog; Apr 19, 17 at 5:44 am
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Old Apr 19, 17, 5:35 am
  #6236  
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
WSJ is now reporting that Munoz is getting heat from Corporate customers. This is far more significant that the temporary blowback from individual consumers and the bad press. I expect UA will offer some written assurances that rules are going to change so as to prohibit IDB except in the most extreme circumstances where planes are grounded (weather, IT) causing temp. overbooking (or at least under capacity) when flights resume.



The culture at CO was toxic prior to Gordon Bethune. And he single-handedly changed it by empowering employees in much the same way that Herb Kelleher did at WN. (Of course, Herb was there at the beginning so he did not have to turn around the culture.) It can be done, but it takes the right type of CEO.



Again, the problem is not just monetary but rules that prohibit creative solutions. I find it difficult to believe (absent a blizzard or computer failure) that it was impossible to get someone from Chicago to Louisville before 4pm the next day. Aside from WN there must surely be others with connections, or nonstops. Even CVG is feasible if the airline is willing to pay for a 90 minute taxi. But airlines have handcuffed their employees. Interlining is largely verbotten.

As Slate has noted, for many people even $1500 would not be sufficient compensation to cover loses from a days work or a prepaid vacation. But if the airline could get you there on the first flight out the next morning, that might make the offer more attractive.



This is a false paradigm. DOT is not going to pass a rule prohibiting deplaning passengers after boarding. This happens all the time when a plane goes mechanical or the crew times out.

The point is that - absent true security concerns - IDB of an individual passenger is never necessary once he has boarded. If the airline assigns the seat to 2 people, or otherwise needs a seat, then it needs to find a solution. If it can't find one person out of 150+ to volunteer for $$$ then it has 2 choices: raise the compensation or threaten to cancel the flight. I bet not too many flights get cancelled as that would be very costly. Better to pay even 10 grand VDB than to cancel.
Surely it should be possible to reassure major corporate contract customers that their people won't be subject to IDBs. AFAIK it could even be written into the contract. Government fare passengers already can't be given IDBs/
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Old Apr 19, 17, 5:58 am
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Originally Posted by fastair View Post
Were you present before the filming started and had an unobstructed view? You stated that someone falsified the written report...based on 1st hand knowledge of what happened? If not, you are guilty of what you claim measures need to be taken against. There was a lot going on when the police went to grab him, most of which was obstructed, and it seemed to me that he did not go peacefully. Can you testify that he didn't? Can you testify what happened beyond the filming, twords the front of the aircraft and on the jetbridge I have no evidence to support he did or did not swing at the officer, do you to put in writing that such statement is false and measures need to be taken?
so... what proof that he struck at the officers?

there is plenty of evidence to support whether he did or he did not:

these would be videos shot before, during, and after the "grab". different videos, at different angles. they show his demeanor, willingness, intent, etc.

all in addition to the 1st hand reports of the incident. if he hit BACK, nevermind hitting FIRST, you dont think that would have leaked out already?

this message board isnt a courtroom - so no, neither of us are beholden to stake an incontrovertible position - to but its overwhelmingly clear that the report was a fabrication.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 6:02 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
That's not the correct legal analysis. The question is whether the harm was foreseeable. IMO a reasonable jury could find that it was. While the police brutality could be argued as a superceding cause, again, I think there's a very good case the harm was reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of UA's actions.
This is correct. And a good case can be made that if United called the police w/o legal right (because their CoC does not allow a removal once a passenger is boarded so the airline can give that seat to a crew member the airline needs to transport for operational reasons) then United is 100% liable having wrongly/negligently summoned the police.

Originally Posted by deniah View Post
would this be the same UA person who falsified the written report, claiming that Dao attempted to strike at the LEO?
There needs to be measures against this kind of behavior
As discovery goes forward, Dao's lawyer will be pulling all prior events with this GA (and involved management, etc) and getting the passenger names and calling them. They will want to have evidence there is a pattern of lying/mistreating passengers, its how you prove up punitive damages.

Originally Posted by fastair View Post
And I think the question still needs to be answered authoritatively, did the DoA Police have the authority/right to remove him. If not, I would assume his right to resist is much stronger than if they did.
The relevant questions are (1) were the police told something by UA that, had it been true, allowed them to remove him , and (2) did they do so negligently. If UA called and said something to the effect that "we have a security issue, a disruptive/non-complient passenger, who needs to be removed" then the police have the legal right to remove him. The liability is on United for wrongly calling the cops, not the police.

I seriously doubt that United called and said "well we have to remove a passenger who has already boarded as we need his seat for a UA employee who needs to fly to work a flight tomorrow afternoon, and this guy did not take our $800 in funny money, so we need you to bounce him" If they did, then the City of Chicago has some liability, but I think we can all agree that the GA (and her management who was evidently involved) mentioned "security issue" or similar words.
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Old Apr 19, 17, 6:18 am
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Originally Posted by spin88 View Post

I seriously doubt that United called and said "well we have to remove a passenger who has already boarded as we need his seat for a UA employee who needs to fly to work a flight tomorrow afternoon, and this guy did not take our $800 in funny money, so we need you to bounce him" If they did, then the City of Chicago has some liability, but I think we can all agree that the GA (and her management who was evidently involved) mentioned "security issue" or similar words.
Watch the videos before making a conclusion.

The first one, which is shot before the removal, shows just one officer present and some sort of administrative person, possibly a UA supervisor given there is no blue uniform.


That one officer (again, alone) is there interacting and speaking with Dao, along side a woman in a black and white dress and ID tags. Not United blue uniform, so maybe not a gate agent, but maybe a UA supervisor, or maybe an airport official.

During that interaction he speaks into his microphone, possibly to summon the other officers.

It is fact that one officer was on scene and had time to assess the situation before the others arrived and it was decided to drag him.

It's possible that officer made the call to say, yes, this is something we would consider grounds for removal. Of course, like mall security, UA as a paying tenant gets more leeway than a typical citizen, but that's a whole other issue at airports.

This whole GA 'lied' narrative isn't proven, or even close to it. Possible? Yes. But we have evidence that conflicts, but is not complete.


Originally Posted by fastair View Post
Nope, just can recognize a statement that has holes in it. Not attacking the victim, just know that none of us saw exactly what occurred and to call someone a liar and they need to have action taken against them, well, I think that statement absent any proof of what they saw or were told seems to be hypocritical on it's face as it's calling for action against you for your written statement on FT absent facts.

Can you really think that in that resisting that there is a low probability (enough to say it didn't happen) that he struck at least 1 of the officers? While it may not have been intentional, I'd say there is a more likelihood of, than of not that in that violent exchange, of him striking an officer. I wasn't there, I have no inside knowledge, but I'd find it hard to believe that there was not a single blow to the officer in the resisting.

Now whether he was within his rights to resist, and possibly strike an officer in that action, I have zero clue on. I'd think no, but I'm sure there are many variables here that none/few of us are experts on.
Indeed a lot of conclusions being drawn in a possible 30 minute plus event with less than 5 minutes of video and a lot of gaps in facts or statements from several relevant parties.

There are enough gaps in time and visibility that Dao could have 'struck' in some way, however minor, and that he was truly angry during a gap before the videos. We don't know, and passenger statements are conflicting.

Last edited by cerealmarketer; Apr 19, 17 at 6:26 am
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Old Apr 19, 17, 7:05 am
  #6240  
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Originally Posted by Kevin AA View Post
Let's say you're a landlord and the tenant is late with the rent. If you call the cops and say "remove this person from my home", and the cops beat him, he can sue you and the cops for damages, but you'll definitely pay.

You don't call the cops when there's a civil matter unless you're willing to accept responsibility that you're just using law enforcement as your own private security force, to beat people into submission.
Where I am from, landlords do hire/rent/pay 'Law Enforcement Officers' (called the Sheriff here) to remove tenants from properties BUT only after getting court approval to do so AND only after a series of legal steps have been taken and approved. Once the court approves that the property is to be returned to the landlord, the LEO/Sherriff, by such order, will throw people out, and with force if necessary. The landlord will not be personally liable at that point.


Originally Posted by spin88 View Post
As discovery goes forward, Dao's lawyer will be pulling all prior events with this GA (and involved management, etc) and getting the passenger names and calling them. They will want to have evidence there is a pattern of lying/mistreating passengers, its how you prove up punitive damages.
And this is where it is going to hurt United, finding out if there are systemic issues and internal policies that are designed or implemented to hurt passengers at the benefit of the airline, even if its within their right to do so. If some of the discovery is some what true, I mean who would want to fly an airline if they don't really care about its passengers.

Further to that and somewhat down the track, imagine the airlines' executives testifying under oath that they regularly overbook flights (as it is industry practice anyway) and that when they require passengers to give up seats, the admit that they are always ready, willing and able to use law enforcement officers to physically evict them (remembering that this is before Munoz's statement last week to never ever use LEO in these situations ever again). And then when pressed further, the airline executive admitting that they are well aware that removing someone by force, the passenger may suffer serious physical and mental harm and even death as a result of that eviction. This will not sound or look too good for United.


Originally Posted by Kevin AA View Post
I hope Dr Dao refuses all offers of a settlement with UA just to drag UA through the mud. We will all get the details, including the name of the gate agent, and hopefully the trial will be televised.
If you were offered $10,000,000 (or even a tenth of that) right now to end this court case, would you? or would you be willing to risk a guaranteed outcome so you can let a judge or jury decide your outcome and potentially rule against you, give you nothing and then order you pay United's legal fees which mind you, will be an easy $250,000 at that point.

Also remember that depending on the cost agreement with the attorney, especially in contingency based agreements, where it stipulates that the client must consider any reasonable offer AND if their attorney's advice is that offer is reasonable BUT the client refuses, s/he may be immediately liable to their fees under that agreement. So again, if a decent offer was on the table, the person is taking it! If not, not only do you risk an unfavourable court decision but also be liable to your attorney's fees at xx% of the offer amount.
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