On Lawyer Up with Lisa this week, North Carolina sex abuse litigation attorney, Lisa Lanier, discussed a recent lawsuit filed by an anonymous NFL football player alleging that he was sexually assaulted by a fellow passenger and accusing the airline of failing to act to protect him. The lawsuit accuses United Airlines of negligence, improper training, and failure to fulfill its duty to protect passengers from an ongoing sexual assault. The NFL player is joined in the lawsuit by another male who was seated on the same row who was also a victim of sexual abuse by the woman. According to the lawsuit, the abusive woman was intoxicated, disruptive, and belligerent. She massaged the men’s knees and thighs then groped them and grabbed their genitalia. The victims complained four times to flight attendants and asked that the woman be removed from their row. The men wanted the woman prosecuted for assaulting them but they allege the airline refused to cooperate.
Sexual assault and abuse cases are on the rise, even in the friendly skies. A recent survey revealed that one in five flight attendants reported seeing passengers being sexually assaulted or harassed by fellow passengers. There is a class action lawsuit currently pending against Frontier Airlines arising out of multiple incidents of sexual assault and abuse of passengers. Airlines have a duty to use reasonable care to protect the safety of passengers to prevent and stop sexual assault and abuse on flights.
Crimes onboard US aircraft fall within the jurisdiction of the FBI and are felonies, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The airlines have a duty to assist victims of sexual abuse and assault to report these crimes to authorities.