Man Who Was Forcibly Removed By United Airlines Hires Top Chicago Lawyers
David Dao and United Airlines reach settlement without a lawsuit
Dr David Dao, the man who was brutally dragged off a flight earlier this month, has finally reached a settlement with United Airlines.
However, the amount of the settlement would remain undisclosed and confidential, as they have agreed earlier.
According to one of Dao's lawyers, Thomas Demetrio, it was an "amicable settlement". The settlement came even before Dao's legal team issued a lawsuit against the airline.
Demetrio even offered praise for United CEO Oscar Munoz in his statement today, 28 April. He said, "Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has."
14 APR: Lawyer says United passenger's injuries require a reconstructive surgery
Dr David Dao, the man who was dragged off a United Airlines flight a few days ago, has sustained "significant" injuries from the horrific incident, according to his lawyer, Thomas A. Demetrio.
Demetrio, one of the two lawyers hired by Dao, told reporters on Thursday (US local time) that the forced removal had caused his client to suffer a concussion, broken nose, injury to the sinuses, and two lost teeth.
On top of that, Dao was described to be "shaken" and suffering from some memory loss.
Demetrio said that Dao will need a reconstructive surgery following the mishaps.
Dao's attorneys have filed an emergency petition with a Chicago court to preserve all evidence
It was reported that the lawyers have requested that all materials including surveillance videos, cockpit voice recordings, passenger and crew lists related to United Flight 3411 to be preserved.
This petition does not currently seek any other forms of relief other than information.
Although there has yet to be any confirmation if there will be a lawsuit, Demetrio said that it is likely
He refused to give additional details but confirmed that he has two years to file a lawsuit and said, "I promise you it won't be that long."
"If you're going to eject a passenger, under no circumstances can it be done with unreasonable force or violence. That's the law," he was quoted as saying by CNN.
"For a long time, airlines, United in particular, have bullied us. Are we going to just continue to be treated like cattle — bullied, rude treatment?" he said during the hour-long press conference.
Meanwhile, United has since issued a statement in response to the press conference
In its statement, United publicly announced its efforts to "fix what’s broken" by saying that it will no longer have the police remove passengers from planes that are too full. It also pledged to review its removal policies and procedures.
Additionally, United also assured that it will review and improve its training programs for its employees.
It also extended a public apology to Dao again.
"United CEO Oscar Munoz and the company called Dr. Dao on numerous occasions to express our heartfelt and deepest apologies," the statement read.
12 APR: United Airlines has come under global scrutiny after a passenger was forcibly removed from its plane recently
The passenger, identified as Dr David Dao, was dragged down the aisle by law enforcement officers as he refused to give up his seat to accommodate airline employees on the United Airlines Flight 3411.
Several videos which captured the incident immediately went viral, drawing criticisms from people around the world who condemned the airlines' conduct in handling the matter.
Although, United CEO Oscar Munoz has issued an apology over the matter, his internal statement to employees drew more criticism from the public
In an email to United employees, Munoz addressed the issue but appeared to have defended the forced removal when he said that staff were following "established procedures when dealing with such situations like this".
It was revealed that preliminary reports submitted by the airline's employees claimed that David became "more and more disruptive and belligerent" as he refused to comply with the crew member's instructions to come off the aircraft.
"Our agents were left with no choice but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight," the report read.
Things took an interesting turn when the world was presented with a new video that seems to have contradicted the airline's preliminary reports
It is believed that the video recording that was uploaded yesterday, 11 April, shows the moments that took place before the alleged assault on Dao.
The 69-year-old appeared to look quite calm and could be heard asking, "Why did you choose me?", in reference to the airline's decision to "randomly" choose four passengers to leave the plane to make way for its employees.
He demanded an answer and when he was not given one he said, "Talk to my lawyer."
The video ended prematurely but netizens were quick to point out that Dao did not appear to be “disruptive and belligerent", questioning why security officers were called in to forcibly remove him.
Meanwhile, recent developments suggest that Dao is planning to file a lawsuit against the airline as he has hired two prominent lawyers following the incident
According to media reports, Dao is currently represented by two different lawyers.
One of the lawyers, Stephen L. Golan is a corporate law specialist while the other, Thomas A. Demetrio, is a lawyer who specialises in cases involving medical negligence, product liability and airplane crash.
Demetrio is a prominent Chicago lawyer and partner at Corby & Demetrio, a firm that has successfully negotiated more than USD1 billion (RM4.4 billion) in settlements for the clients it has represented. It is noted that he is the former president of the Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.
Dao is still in the hospital after sustaining injuries from the horrific incident
In a statement that was released through his lawyer, Dao is said to be at a Chicago hospital and is receiving medical treatment for his condition.
"The family of Dr. Dao wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received. Currently, they are focused only on Dr. Dao’s medical care and treatment," the statement read.
According to both Golan and Demetrio, Dao's family is asking for privacy and will not be making any further statements until Dao is released from the hospital.