Michigan Woman Molested on Flight Sues Delta

A Detroit-area resident recently sued Delta Air Lines, arguing it negligently failed to protect her from being molested on her flight home from South Carolina in 2016. She filed the lawsuit in Wayne County Superior Court last month, asking for $10 million in damages.

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A 41-year-old man from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina was sentenced in March after pleading guilty to misdemeanor simple assault and indecent exposure. He was ordered to pay $1,000 in fines, pay $400 in restitution, and spend seven days in jail. The plaintiff claimed the defendant, a long-haul trucker, came over to the seat next to her and slipped his hand up her shorts. She told reporters she was trapped in her window seat and was “frozen with terror.” According to the lawsuit, the defendant told the plaintiff he liked white women and asked where her “man” was. She repeatedly told him to stop. Delta has declined to comment on the lawsuit. The company offered her $2,500 in ticket vouchers.

At the sentencing hearing in the criminal case, the plaintiff learned that the flight attendants had seen the defendant exposing himself while masturbating in first class for 40 minutes earlier in the flight. The civil lawsuit claims the crew was negligent in allowing the defendant to roam during the flight. The plaintiff’s attorney said it was outrageous that Delta staff would witness a man exposing himself and then allow him to move around freely instead of restraining him and preparing to arrest him. While Delta frequently uses force to remove passengers from overbooked planes, it ignored the safety of the plaintiff.

When the defendant was arrested after the flight, he denied masturbating and told officers that the zipper of his shorts came down accidentally, and he was trying to fix it. According to court documents, the defendant later told FBI agents that he prefers to sit with his hands in his pants while massaging himself; he called it his “happy place.” The defendant’s criminal attorney said he did a “terrible thing” due to the stress of being away from his family, combined with alcohol intoxication from drinking two shots of gin. The attorney claimed the defendant was embarrassed by his actions and is remorseful for the pain he’s caused the victim and her family.

This is not the only lawsuit Delta is currently facing. Another man recently filed suit based on a flight from LAX to Atlanta in 2015, on which he reached into a seat pocket to grab his wallet and got stabbed by a needle. Afterwards, he allegedly had to undergo a battery of tests and take powerful medication to ensure he didn’t contract HIV or other diseases.

The family of a 12-year-old boy filed a lawsuit in Rockland County, New York for an incident that occurred last July. The boy was stuck at New York’s La Guardia Airport with his family; they were due to be flying to West Palm Beach in Florida, but a “weather event” delayed them for 17 hours. As the Delta agent addressed angry customers in the gate, the boy began filming her with his iPhone. Footage shows the agent batting the phone away. The family, who live in Suffern, New York, are now suing the airline for unspecified damages.

The sexual assault attorneys at the Neumann Law Group represent people throughout Michigan from offices in Traverse City and Grand Rapids. Call us at (231) 463-0122 or at (616) 717-5666 for a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Michigan Appeals Court Holds Plaintiff Failed to Prove Defendant Had Notice of Dangerous Condition in Slip and Fall Case, Neumann Law Group, July 6, 2017.

Michigan Appeals Court Holds Student Suicide Lawsuit Barred by Governmental Immunity, Neumann Law Group, June 16, 2017.

Michigan Appeals Court Upholds Grant of Summary Disposition to Defendants in Drug Overdose Lawsuit, Neumann Law Group, June 2, 2017.

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