A woman is suing Southwest Airlines, claiming she and her husband were ordered off a plane at Los Angeles International Airport because of a mask issue that occurred in May, 2021. She alleges she was injured when an employee grabbed her cell phone from out of her hands as she was preparing to exit the plane.
Interestingly, unlike most instances involving “masks on planes,” the lawsuit claims she and her husband were willing to cooperate with the flight attendant in question.
As per ABC Los Angeles, Karina Isabel Velasquez’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges battery, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She’s seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Velasquez and her husband, Blake Harrison, were passengers on Southwest Flight 3225 on May 19. They were on the plane, still at the terminal, waiting to depart to Las Vegas.
While seated, Velasquez and her husband were approached by a flight attendant who told them Harrison’s face mask didn’t meet Southwest’s passenger standards, according to the suit. Velasquez and her husband replied that they had tested negative for the COVID-19 virus and offered to show proof.
The suit states the couple also showed the flight attendant their three additional masks and offered to either switch the mask Harrison was wearing, or that he would even wear two masks. But the flight attendant still insisted that the two leave the plane. So the couple gathered their belongings and walked toward the plane’s front exit, the suit states.
Velasquez’s cell phone had a ring-shaped grip attached to the back of it – she used it to prevent her from accidentally dropping it, the suit states. At the time of the event, the middle finger on her right hand was inside the ring-shaped grip.
As Velasquez and Harrison left the plane, the flight attendant “suddenly and violently grabbed and removed plaintiff’s phone out of her hand,” as per the suit. This allegedly left Velasquez with a severely sprained wrist and cuts on one of her fingers.
Velasquez proceeded to get her phone back from the flight attendant, went to the terminal and spoke with a Southwest supervisor and LAPD officers about the alleged actions of the said flight attendant. She also filed a police report, according to the suit.
Velasquez claims she’s currently attending physical therapy sessions twice a week to treat her sprained wrist. She also says her doctor told her she may not gain 100% recovery. She had been a personal trainer, acrobat and exotic dancer at the time of the event, and has been unable to work while receiving rehab. She claims that, in turn, has caused a significant lost income.
It’s an interesting suit, since Velasquez says she and her husband were willing to be compliant. If that was the case, why would the flight attendant still insist they leave? Or, for that matter, why would a FA ever grab a passenger’s cell phone? I’m going to keep an eye on this one, to see where this ends up.
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“…personal trainer, acrobat and exotic dancer…” I think that can be translated to Stripper.