Negligence in the Air and on the Ground: United Airlines Settles for $30M

United Airlines settles claims that its negligent handling of a disabled passenger caused him to be a quadriplegic for $30 million

In the case of Nathaniel Foster Jr. et al. v. United Airlines Holdings Inc. et al., case number 3:19-cv-02530, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the parties settled after the first day of trial for $30,000,000.

In this case, 22-year-old Nathaniel Foster Jr. and his family were exiting a flight from San Francisco that had arrived at Monroe Regional Airport in Monroe, Louisiana in February 2019, according to court documents. According to Law 360:

Foster’s family claims United represented that it was “able to provide safe passage” for Foster and that United’s contractor, DAL Global Services LLC, said it was able to provide disability-related deplaning services. But while on the flight, a DGS employee allegedly moved Foster, dislodging his tracheal tube and ventilator for a significant period of time during which he was unable to breathe, the underlying suit claims.

Foster has been in a coma since then, and his family says they’ve suffered severe emotional distress. They assert claims of negligence and breach of contract against DGS, United and the regional airline ExpressJet Airlines LLC. The family had planned to ask jurors to determine whether the companies were liable, what portion of responsibility each defendant should bear and whether each company should pay punitive damages, according to the verdict form.

This is a classic case of a corporation which manages or transports people mishandling a medical emergency or issue. This is the same as if you experience a medical emergency on a cruise ship. The cruise lines like the airlines represent that they can and will take care of you. And they voluntarily engage in efforts to get you to better medical care. When you manage and transport people, you need to manage and transport people reasonably. Here, a disabled person was moved incorrectly and it caused a significant brain injury which rendered this gentleman a quadriplegic.

Hickey Law Firm has handled such cases. For example, we have handled cases where:

  • The cruise line failed to call for an emergency evacuation of a cruise passenger who suffered a traumatic brain injury from a fall where the delay in treatment resulted in an exacerbation of the brain injury.
  • The cruise line failed to call for emergency evacuation of a patient who suffered a deep vein thrombosis and then a cascading pulmonary embolism while the ship was in a U.S. port (Port Canaveral). The cruise ship physician discouraged evacuation while the ship was in port in the United States, the passenger stayed onboard the ship and 2 days later out at sea the passenger died.
  • The cruise line delayed in getting a cruise passenger suffering from internal and rectal bleeding to a port and then delayed transport to a medical center once the ship was in a (U.S.) port (San Juan, P.R.) for a cruise passenger resulting in a severe loss of blood which resulted in permanent brain and internal organ damage.
  • The cruise line failed to call for emergency medical evacuation (medivac) for a cruise passenger suffering from diverticulitis and diverticulosis and severe abdominal pain and loss of full consciousness until the ship sailed through the Gulf of Mexico and arrived at Galveston where the cruise passenger was taken to a medical center and recovered from sepsis and multi organ shutdown.
  • The cruise line onboard physician fails to call for emergency treatment and transport of a stroke patient, all while the ship was in a U.S. port (San Juan, P.R.). The onboard physician failed to get the cruise passenger to a medical center within 4 ½ hours after the onset of symptoms. This delay prevented the ability of the receiving medical center to administer tPA within the required window of 4 ½ hours and the preferred window of 3 hours. This turned a stroke into a catastrophic stroke with catastrophic results for the now permanently and severely disabled cruise passenger.

Hickey Law Firm specializes in “life changing injuries”®. Call us first. Call us now. 800.215.7117

When you have suffered a serious injury, you want a specialist to help you. We are specialists. John H. (Jack) Hickey is double Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Civil Trial and Admiralty & Maritime Law, and Board Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) in Civil Trial. Hickey regularly lectures other trial attorneys on the intricacies of the law. He is also recognized by Best Lawyers in America in 3 areas: Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Medical Malpractice – Plaintiffs, and Admiralty and Maritime Law.

So when we say we are specialists, we mean it. We fight for you, the seriously injured person. You don’t pay until we win your case. Consultations are free, and there are no costs for you to call and meet with us. You don’t pay us anything until after we win your case. It costs you absolutely nothing. Call us in Miami or fill out our contact form for a free consultation. Serving all of Florida.