PHOTO: United Airlines could be facing legal action after it had a passenger forcibly removed from a flight. (Photo via Flickr/ORD Spotter)
In more fallout for United Airlines, the airline could now be facing legal action from the passenger who was unwillingly “re-accommodated” after he refused to give up his seat for a crewmember who needed to board the aircraft.
Lawyers for the passenger, identified as Dr. David Dao, have filed papers with the Illinois state court requesting that United Airlines and the City of Chicago, which operates the airport, preserve all documents and evidence related to flight 3411, including cockpit voice recordings, passenger manifests, crew lists, video recordings and any other materials related to the flight, in which their client was forcibly removed by airport law enforcement officials and injured while being dragged down the aisle.
Although the lawyers have not yet filed a lawsuit, the legal activity likely suggests they are gearing up to take the airline and airport to court.
Earlier today, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz offered Dao an apology—the executive’s third attempt at apologizing for the incident—and has promised to no longer use law enforcement officers to remove passengers. But for many, it is a case of too little, too late for many, including members of U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, who have called for an official hearing with respect to the incident.
After the incident, Dao remains hospitalized at a Chicago area medical facility, according to his lawyers.
United, on the other hand, remains trapped in a PR nightmare that shows no evidence it will die down anytime soon.
READ MORE: Congress Now Involved in United Debacle
In more bad news for the airline, another video has surfaced, this one filmed shortly before the passenger was dragged off the plane. The footage records an initial conversation between Dao and an airport law enforcement officer and seemingly refutes the airline’s assertion that passenger was “disruptive and belligerent,” before he was dragged off the plane.
The video, which can be viewed at The Huffington Post, was taken by a fellow passenger identified as Joyce Cummings and shows Dao telling the security officer that he will not leave the plane. “No, I’m not going,” he repeats several times before stating, “well, then you can drag me down. I am staying right here.”
READ MORE: United CEO Gives First Interview Since Incident
Although the Facebook post by Cummings has now been protected, according to the Huffington Post, she wrote, “I was not concerned for my safety, nor that of my toddler’s or for my pregnancy until the police were called aboard our plane to remove him. I was worried about what a physical altercation would entail with us sitting directly behind him and if the officers were armed in a tiny, confined space.”