United Airlines agree to pay $30 million to man left brain damaged after 'violent' removal from plane

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By VT

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United Airlines is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons as they agree to a staggering $30 million settlement over a horrifying incident that left a quadriplegic man, Nathaniel "NJ" Foster Jr., brain-damaged.

The heartbreaking event unfolded on February 8, 2019, during a United Express flight from San Francisco to Monroe, Louisiana. NJ was traveling with his family to attend a funeral when the incident happened.

The incident, as described in court documents, involved an "aggressively" mishandled deplaning process that led to severe injuries for NJ. Unlike regular circumstances where four to six staff would assist him, only one attendant was available initially, per Reuters.

A disturbing account reveals that even when a "supervisor" arrived at the scene, the response to the family's request for more help was shockingly insensitive. The supervisor allegedly stated, "Fine. Do it yourself, then... I’m out," according to court filings.

What transpired next was the stuff of nightmares. A contracted baggage handler for United secured NJ to his chair with a belt and then "aggressively" pushed him, causing NJ to slump.

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Credit: NurPhoto / Getty

The chilling words, "I can't breathe," whispered by NJ, were his last. He remains in a vegetative state, as confirmed by a statement released by the family in June.

The incident has been marred by shocking insensitivity, as court papers reveal that a gate agent laughed off an offer for medical help, stating, "We got this." The consequences were devastating: NJ went into cardiac arrest and incurred "significant" brain damage.

Prior to the incident, NJ's life expectancy was projected at 39 years. It has now been drastically cut down to 31.5 years, according to the complaint.

After a one-day trial in a San Francisco federal court, United Airlines agreed to the monumental $30 million settlement, pending judicial approval.

United Airlines has since provided a statement to Reuters, saying: "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."

The Foster family's attorneys have yet to respond to requests for comments. However, NJ’s mother, Pamela Foster, issued a poignant statement before the trial.

She revealed that the family had received "repeated assurances" from United about NJ’s care. "What happened to our son, to our family, cannot be undone," Mrs. Foster emphasized, adding, "We hope that through our loss, lessons present themselves so that no other family has to suffer."

This case serves as a sobering reminder of the immeasurable responsibility that airlines hold, especially towards passengers requiring special assistance. The multi-million dollar settlement speaks volumes, but no sum can compensate for the irreversible damage inflicted upon NJ Foster and his family.

Featured image credit: Alavinphoto/Getty

United Airlines agree to pay $30 million to man left brain damaged after 'violent' removal from plane

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

United Airlines is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons as they agree to a staggering $30 million settlement over a horrifying incident that left a quadriplegic man, Nathaniel "NJ" Foster Jr., brain-damaged.

The heartbreaking event unfolded on February 8, 2019, during a United Express flight from San Francisco to Monroe, Louisiana. NJ was traveling with his family to attend a funeral when the incident happened.

The incident, as described in court documents, involved an "aggressively" mishandled deplaning process that led to severe injuries for NJ. Unlike regular circumstances where four to six staff would assist him, only one attendant was available initially, per Reuters.

A disturbing account reveals that even when a "supervisor" arrived at the scene, the response to the family's request for more help was shockingly insensitive. The supervisor allegedly stated, "Fine. Do it yourself, then... I’m out," according to court filings.

What transpired next was the stuff of nightmares. A contracted baggage handler for United secured NJ to his chair with a belt and then "aggressively" pushed him, causing NJ to slump.

size-full wp-image-1263225844
Credit: NurPhoto / Getty

The chilling words, "I can't breathe," whispered by NJ, were his last. He remains in a vegetative state, as confirmed by a statement released by the family in June.

The incident has been marred by shocking insensitivity, as court papers reveal that a gate agent laughed off an offer for medical help, stating, "We got this." The consequences were devastating: NJ went into cardiac arrest and incurred "significant" brain damage.

Prior to the incident, NJ's life expectancy was projected at 39 years. It has now been drastically cut down to 31.5 years, according to the complaint.

After a one-day trial in a San Francisco federal court, United Airlines agreed to the monumental $30 million settlement, pending judicial approval.

United Airlines has since provided a statement to Reuters, saying: "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."

The Foster family's attorneys have yet to respond to requests for comments. However, NJ’s mother, Pamela Foster, issued a poignant statement before the trial.

She revealed that the family had received "repeated assurances" from United about NJ’s care. "What happened to our son, to our family, cannot be undone," Mrs. Foster emphasized, adding, "We hope that through our loss, lessons present themselves so that no other family has to suffer."

This case serves as a sobering reminder of the immeasurable responsibility that airlines hold, especially towards passengers requiring special assistance. The multi-million dollar settlement speaks volumes, but no sum can compensate for the irreversible damage inflicted upon NJ Foster and his family.

Featured image credit: Alavinphoto/Getty