Woman Sues Airline Over Flight Turbulence

from the acts-of-god dept

We recently wrote about a woman suing a movie theater and movie producers because she felt the trailer for the film was misleading concerning the content of the actual movie. It seems that bizarre lawsuits aren’t that uncommon these days. btr1701 alerts us to a case in which a woman sued Continental Airlines because her flight was too turbulent. No one seems to be showing the actual filing (anyone have it? thanks to everyone who sent this in, it’s now embedded below), but it sounds like she’s claiming that they were somehow negligent in taking off, given the weather reports, and the resulting extreme turbulence. She’s also claiming that the turbulence resulted in post-traumatic stress disorder and that she has missed out on job opportunities because she now refuses to fly. I don’t doubt that the flight may have been traumatic, but I do wonder if there’s any actual legal issue here. Update: A bunch of you sent in the complaint, and it’s a pretty clean, straightfoward negligence claim. Nice, at least, to see them not try to throw everything and the kitchen sink into the complaint. However, I still can’t see it sticking. Negligence can be pretty difficult to prove, and a lot of the facts of the situation don’t support her claim that this was truly negligent. A poor decision alone isn’t negligent.

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Companies: continental airlines

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Comments on “Woman Sues Airline Over Flight Turbulence”

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hmm (profile) says:

This case

Is going to be rough, slightly bouncy and well whats the word…erm……turbulent thats it!

I hope her lawyer advised her to keep her seatbelt fastened for the journey!

Hey, I wonder if she can say the legal wranglings were turbulent and she now has post-traumatic stress disorder and can now no longer sue people and therefore sue the US government for not having adequate safeguards against people suing for retarded reasons……….

out_of_the_blue says:

What is this, the legalistic weenies blog?

Here’s your own “About” statement, as you’ve forgotten again: “uses a proven economic framework to analyze and offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues that affect companies ability to innovate and grow.”

And I’m still waiting for how an “economic framework” analyzes anything. — By the way, Mike, yours above is an example of “bafflegab”, just buzzwords strung together to look impressive, while any actual attempt to understand baffles.

MrWilson says:

Re: What is this, the legalistic weenies blog?

Can you point out where in the About statement or anywhere else on the blog that Mike promises under pain of meaningless criticism that he will never post something that doesn’t fit into your perception of what would be appropriate material or proper phrasing of posts for his website?

The beauty of the internet is that participation isn’t mandatory. You neither have to read nor comment on content that you aren’t interested in.

AJ says:

Re: Re: What is this, the legalistic weenies blog?

“The beauty of the internet is that participation isn’t mandatory. You neither have to read nor comment on content that you aren’t interested in.”

Such a easy to understand and profound statement that totally eludes your average troll!

+1 insightful, and 1,000 Internets to you sir.

AJ says:

Well.. After pulling the transcripts of the departure tapes, I think I’ve found where the confusion started….

“Roger Murdock: Flight 2-0-9’er, you are cleared for take-off.
Captain Oveur: Roger!
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Tower voice: L.A. departure frequency, 123 point 9’er.
Captain Oveur: Roger!
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Victor Basta: Request vector, over.
Captain Oveur: What?
Tower voice: Flight 2-0-9’er cleared for vector 324.
Roger Murdock: We have clearance, Clarence.
Captain Oveur: Roger, Roger. What’s our vector, Victor?
Tower voice: Tower’s radio clearance, over!
Captain Oveur: That’s Clarence Oveur. Over.
Tower voice: Over.
Captain Oveur: Roger.
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Tower voice: Roger, over!
Roger Murdock: What?
Captain Oveur: Huh?
Victor Basta: Who? “

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

*blink blink blink*
At first I figured NFW this had any merit…. then I read this.

“Colleen O’Neal of Lubbock, Texas, was flying from College Station to Houston on Oct. 29, 2009, when the flight hit extreme turbulence just minutes after takeoff, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Harris County district court. Weather reports at the time of departure showed a threat of “tornados, wind shear, and dangerously strong winds with rotating and intense thunderstorms.””

It seems like the flight should have been grounded with that much unstable air in the area. A 20 min flight turned into over 2 hours with the flight dropping altitude over and over.

While I think the PTSD and it ruined my entire life seems to be over the top, the fact she waited 2 years to file also raises some serious questions.

She also names Colgan Air which, IIRC, was the subject of a “Frontline” investigation about how the minicarrier was cutting all sorts of corners and there was much pressure to move the planes at all costs. While the plane has Continental on the side, in past problems Continental has always said that Colgan was ultimately responsible in crash investigations etc etc.

Something bad happened, but the “cha-ching” sue for everything including the kitchen sink type of case is not helping.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Because she assumed that there actually is a working system that says when the conditions are this bad we can not allow flights to take off.

We have seen tons of crashes caused by windsheer and microbursts etc etc… a 20 min flight becoming a 2 hour nightmare isn’t supposed to happen.

While she might have some sort of case, I think its over the top.

AJ says:

Re: Re:

Agreed. She may have an issue to take up with the airline, but enough to file a lawsuit? Hell I would have paid extra for that ride! You know it had to be crazy for the entire flight, crew and all, to take an “I survived” photo” afterwards!

On the funny side….
I’m getting a mental picture of some young couple in the John trying to join the mile high club when all hell breaks loose…. moments later they emerge beat all to hell, and as blue as a smurf…….

Slicerwizard says:

Re: Re:

“The fact that she’s alive would suggest that the flight made it, does it not lead on, that the decision to fly was the correct one?”

So because my idiot friend once managed to run across a busy 12 lane highway without becoming a hood ornament, it follows that his decision to play in 120 kph traffic was the correct one? Right…

Anonymous Coward says:

In other news, a Florida woman is suing Tampa Bay Sports And Entertainment LLC, owners and operators of St. Pete Times Forum, due to the arena being too cold at a recent Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game. She states in the filing that she contracted hypothermia and was forced to cover her skimpy bikini with a sweater and pants. She is seeking damages related to post traumatic stress disorder, claiming that she is now barred from future job opportunities as a result of being afraid of Canada.

Gracey says:

Re: Re:

As I was reading the comments I was sort of thinking the same thing. I was beginning to wonder if she’d been on the flight alone.

If this actually goes anywhere, there might be others come out of the woodwork, but…if she has historical medical data that supports her case and no one else does, there may be no other cases come forward.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Link To Court Documents....THUS FAR

“She is District Coordinator of the Texas Division of Emergency Management with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Prior to the flight that is the subject of Plaintiffs claim she intended to become employed by FEMA that would require air travel.”

She intended…
I intent to win the lotto and be as rich as Warren Buffet, do I get to sue?

I withdraw my earlier support that she might have had any case. This is over the top at its finest the only thing more ironic is that she is in charge of managing emergencies, but finding herself in one damaged her for life.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This doesn’t surprise me. A few years ago a lady called 911 because she didn’t get her cheeseburger made to her liking at a fast food drive through.

Heh. There was a news article last week of a family calling 911 after getting lost in a corn maze. (and all this time I thought that was the POINT of a corn maze, go figure)


Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:

Heh. There was a news article last week of a family calling 911 after getting lost in a corn maze.

First, I’ve never seen a cornfield so dense that you couldn’t just push through the stalks. Second, they forgot the universal maze solution of putting one hand on the “wall” and then just keep following it, even through dead ends. It might take a while, but unless you’ve managed to get into an area that goes in a loop and you pick the inside wall to follow (which should be fairly obvious), you’ll eventually come to either the entrance or exit.

Of course the article says that the maze has maps and signs, so I don’t know how they managed to get lost in the first place.

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