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March 14, 2008

Woman files lawsuit against AMR because passenger next to her masturbated while she slept

A 21-year-old Harris County woman filed a $200,000 lawsuit against American Airlines alleging employees on a flight to Los Angeles from Dallas/Fort Worth Airport failed to protect her while she slept from another passenger who masturbated to her and ejaculated in her hair, according to a lawsuit she filed last week in Tarrant County.

The Harris County woman alleges employees knew of the risks associated with failing to “police the passengers to ensure that passengers do not hurt one another,” the suit states.
Airline officials did not return calls seeking comment. In a statement to a Houston television station last year, a spokesman said the company regretted the incident, but the flight crew took appropriate action.

The woman and her lawyer could not be reached for comment. The Star-Telegram does not identify victims of sexual crimes.

Destined for a Spring Break visit with family and friends March 19, the woman flew from Houston to DFW Airport and had settled into her seat for the last leg of flight 2074 to Los Angeles about 11 p.m., the suit states. The woman slept most of the flight, but awoke about 20 minutes before landing when the pilot announced the plane was on descent into Los Angeles. When the woman opened her eyes, she saw that an unknown man had moved into the seat next to her and was staring at her as he masturbated, the suit states.

The woman turned toward the window in embarrassment and in an act of nervousness began to run her fingers through her hair where she noticed “a substantial amount of an extremely sticky substance in her hair,” the suit states.

The woman began to cry and tried to get the attention of a flight attendant, but was unsuccessful, the suit states. Finally a passenger in the row in front of the woman comforted her and verified the semen in her hair, the suit states.

When the plane landed, employee called airport police and the man was arrested.
The suit alleges that the during the investigation, American Airlines employees told police they witnessed the man move from his assigned seat into the row where the woman was sleeping.
The woman is seeking punitive damages and a jury trial.

-- Melissa Vargas


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The response here is way, way off base...the reason the airline is being sue is an illegal action took place on their property and through lack of basic attention (walking through the cabin) it was allowed to happen...the man is being sued along with the airline...200K is nothing in a situation like this- it is actually a very low amount meant to settle this quickly as I am sure it will be if the airlines has any legal department worth a dam.

As to all those who say this young girl should "suck it up" just imagine if this happened to your mother, wife, sister, daughter...this was not a baby being sick, or someone with the flu this was a SEX CRIME that is why the man was arrested...our society needs to set a higher standard- and you who comment so crassly really need a reminder- basic standards of decency need to be higher than such an act (sex crime) and you should be ashamed for not being more thoughtful here...


He should face criminal charges for molestation or rape not to mention the fact that bodily fluids are potentially lethal.
The airline... well when you buy your ticket they agree to transport you safely from A to B and clearly she wasn't safe. The difference between a park bench and the airline seat? They tell you not to sleep on park benches, but airlines will offer you a blanket and a pillow. Clearly they are suggesting that they will keep you safe should you wish to sleep. Obviously if they walked down the isle while this was going on they would have noticed unless he was extremely small. The airline has SOME responsibility for your safety or they would toss you out the door as the plane flew over the airport to save money on stops.


Sure people should be able to change seats, but when you see a man move to a seat with no more added room than his own that just happens to be next to an unconscious woman you should be suspicious.


Flight attendants have the second most difficult job in the world (gate agents have the most difficult.) They have to please everyone all the time, and if they don't they get the brunt of it all. No matter who in the airline "screws up" the flight attendant bears the burden as they are the longest point of contact with the customer.

In this case, the flight attendants were negligent in that although they noticed that a man had moved to a seat next to a woman traveling alone, they did nothing to investigate or confront the individual. Unlike if he were to, say, move to first class. Also, women traveling alone should be of considerate concern to flight attendants, especially when they are sleeping, and a man moving next to one for no apparent reason should have raised red flags.

$200K may be overreaching simply for effect. I know that if I were to sue an airline to make a point it would have to be something close to real money just to keep them from paying me to go away. If she were going for a money grab she would have done it quietly and it prob. would never had made the news. She feels wronged, and she is. I think she should get her day in court. As I live in Harris County, I may even show up for the trial.

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