By John Ensor •
Published: 26 Aug 2023 • 14:23
Image of United Airlines aircraft.
A major airline has reached a multi-million dollar settlement following claims that a man was ‘violently’ removed from an aircraft which led to life-changing complications.
In 2019, Nathaniel ‘NJ Foster Jr, a 26-year-old quadriplegic, embarked on a United Express flight from San Francisco to Monroe, Louisiana. However, upon arrival in Monroe, a distressing incident with an airline employee changed his life forever, writes Live and Let’s Fly.
The family’s account paints a grim picture. The ‘ramp supervisor’ manoeuvring the aisle chair reportedly yanked it back and forth. When the family voiced their concerns and sought further help, the employee retorted: ‘Fine. Do it yourself, then…I’m out.’
Subsequently, a baggage handler bound him to the aisle chair using a belt and pushed him with undue force, making him lean forward. His mother recounted to the court that she heard him utter, ‘I can’t breathe,’ only to be met with laughter from the agent.
Tragically, Foster went into cardiac arrest, sustaining severe brain injuries. He now remains in a vegetative state, reliant on a ventilator and tracheal tube, and unable to consume solid foods or communicate. Medical professionals representing the plaintiff estimated that his life expectancy has been reduced by seven and a half years, from 39 years to 31.5 years.
Reportedly, after the trial’s inaugural day, United settled with the Foster family for $30 million. Of this, $12 million is allocated for the legal team representing the Fosters, $3 million for other court-related expenses, and the remaining $15 million for the family.
United Airlines commented, ‘Our top priority is to provide a safe journey for all our customers, especially those who require additional assistance or the use of a wheelchair. We are pleased to share that this matter has settled.’
This incident underscores the grave consequences when companies fail to ensure the well-being of vulnerable passengers. It is hoped that this resolution offers some solace to the Foster family.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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