United passenger suffered concussion, broken nose, lost 2 front teeth

Chicago-lawyer Thomas Demetrio spoke today about his client, Dr. David Dao, who was violently removed from a United flight this past Sunday after he refused to give up his seat for a United crew member. Dr. Dao’s daughter also spoke at the press conference.

Demetrio gave, what CNN just called, a “master class” in how to represent your client to the public. A slow-speaking, no-nonsense regular-guy Chicagoan, Demetrio made clear that a lawsuit was likely coming, and that it would focus on more than just the mistreatment of his client. The suit would address the larger angst many Americans now feel about air travel.

It’s a brilliant move by Demetrio, as an already-expected-to-be-friendly jury (because of the ubiquitous video evidence) would likely also sympathize with the larger argument about just how awful air travel has become for many Americans. By supporting Dao in his suit, the jury would be striking a blow for every person ever done wrong by the airlines. It’s a brilliant move.

Demetrio broke a bit of news today as well. Dr. Dao suffered a concussion, a broken nose, sinus damage, and lost two front teeth. The various videos are bad enough. But having the damage this extensive ups the public’s and the jury’s sympathy for Dao, increases the potential damages, and only reinforces how out of control the Chicago cops, acting on behalf of United, actually were.

We’ve set up a petition, that already has over 75,000 names on it, calling on United to make things right with Dao, but also to fix its policies so that no other passenger ever has to go through what Dr. Dao did last weekend. Please add your name and share.

And if you’ve already signed the petition, share it on Twitter by clicking here.

Also, I’ve found a United customer care email address that works, and that you can use to send your own message to United about this horrible incident: [email protected]. (Copy and paste the email address if clicking it does nothing.)

Also interesting, yesterday afternoon some new video surfaced, taken by the passenger behind Dao, in which someone in an official capacity, it appears to be a Chicago aviation security person, kept telling Doa to give up his seat. Doa, quite calmly and politely replied “no,” and explained that he was a doctor and had to be in Louisville the next day to see patients. The response: We’ll have to drag you. While some are saying “why didn’t Dao just leave?”, I think a lot of people, when threatened to be dragged from a plane for no just reason, would respond “try it.”

So now we know that Dao only screamed once he was attacked by the security people as they forcefully yanked him, followed moments later by the infamous image of Dao’s head being thrown into a seat rest.

Lawyer Demetrio made clear that United not only needs to make his client whole again, but the airline also needs to address this issue of “overbooking,” or whatever United calls it when, at the last minute, they choose to remove passengers from the flight in order to accommodate their own crew.

We’ve set up a petition, that already has over 75,000 names on it, calling on United to make things right with Dao, but also to fix its policies so that no other passenger ever has to go through what Dr. Dao did last weekend. Please add your name and share.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • Mike

    How about actually following the law and doing what the officers asked him to do? By resisting, he was the one that took things to the physical level.

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  • TimCA

    It’s times like this when I’m thankful we now live in the age of the all ubiquitous cell phone camera.

  • Judging from Dr. Dao’s limp unresponsiveness after the United security guards slammed his head into the armrest, and then his bloodied confusion afterwards when he tried to reboard, I’d a feeling he was experiencing a bad concussion.

    This treatment was inexcusable — and it points yet again to the need for an airline passengers’ “bill of rights” in this country. Besides not being violently removed from flights, we also need to see real, health-conscious standards in the seats themselves. I myself am small so teeny seats aren’t that much an issue, other than my noticing there really is no legroom left, but I have a rather tall friend who can’t even travel coach anymore after a long flight gave him leg clots.

    It is interesting how the airline — and it’s apologists — kept trying to make like Dr. Dao was hysterical and unreasonable right from the start. He wasn’t. He just explained that unlike some, he had good reason not to be bumped involuntarily.

    And btw, United broke the already lax rules concerning involuntary bumps. By time they got to the point where they were “randomly” selecting passengers for removal, they should have been under the rule which requires 400% or $1350 cash refunds, not travel vouchers.

  • Demosthenes
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