As Predicted, David Dao, Hires Two High Powered Law Firms to sue United Airlines
Dr. David Dao, who was brutally dragged from a United flight when he refused, apparently legally, to relinquish his assigned seat to United crew members needed on another flight, has already retained two high powered law firms to help him “Sue The Bastards,” says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
Banzhaf not only predicted that the doctor would take legal action, but went on to correct many media outlets by explaining why the denied boarding rule did not give the airline any legal justification to remove a passenger who had already boarded, just to free up a seat. Banzhaf’s legal analysis has also been confirmed by aviation law expert Arthur Wolk, Fox’s Judge Andrew Napolitano, and others.
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Prof. Banzhaf explains that United’s federally-required “Contract of Carriage,” a legally binding contract which protects the legal rights of passengers, and imposes legal duties upon carriers, authorizes United to deal with overbooking, or any other need for seats, only by denying boarding to passengers waiting to board. However, it does not permit United to require passengers who have already boarded, and are therefore no longer subject to United’s Rule 25 entitled “Denied Boarding Compensation,” to leave once they have boarded.
Moreover, Rule 21 does give United Airlines the “right to remove [any passenger] from the aircraft at any point,” including after he has boarded, but only for certain specific listed reasons.
For example, if after boarding a passenger appears intoxicated or sick, or cannot fit into one seat, he can be removed. But the deliberate failure to include in this list any mention at all of over booking, the need to free up seats, etc., clearly shows that, after a passenger has boarded, he can be removed for about two dozen clearly specified reasons, but not just because the airline needs his seat.
Wasting no time following the severe injuries which forced him to be hospitalized, Dr. Dao has engaged attorneys Stephen Golan, an experienced corporate law specialist, and Thomas Demetrio, a personal injury lawyer specializing in aviation law. Demetrio’s firm, Corby & Demetrio, has achieved total compensation payments of more than $1 billion for its clients. Banzhaf, who helped achieve a settlement of some $250 billion, and who has been called “a Driving Force Behind the Lawsuits That Have Cost Tobacco Companies Billions of Dollars,” says both lawyers and their firms have impressive records.
Banzhaf also noted that, even if United Airlines did have a legal right to remove Dr. David Dao from the airplane, it could do so using no more than reasonable force. He explains, for example, that a police officer may have the legal right to remove an elderly frail lady who is trespassing on someone else’s property, but he may not throw her to the ground and drag her off. If he did, says Banzhaf, he and anyone else involved could be liable for using excessive force – which seems to be the case here where three large security men confronted an elderly frail passenger who did nothing to put threaten them or others.