United Airlines has agreed to settle a lawsuit for $30 million brought by a quadriplegic man who his family says was “violently” removed from a flight, causing extensive health damage.
United Airlines Settles Quadriplegic Lawsuit For $30 Million
26-year-old Nathaniel “NJ” Foster Jr. requires a wheelchair to travel. While traveling to a family funeral on United Express from San Francisco (SFO) to Monroe, Louisiana (MLU) in 2019, Foster purportedly encountered a hostile employee in Monroe.
The family alleged the “ramp supervisor” pushing the aisle chair jerked Monroe back and forth. When the family protested and asked for more assistance, he said:
“Fine. Do it yourself, then…I’m out.”
Next, a baggage handler strapped him to the aisle chair with a belt and “aggressively” pushed him, causing him to slump over. His mother told the court that she heard him say, “I can’t breathe,” and the agent responded by giggling.
He then entered cardiac arrest and suffered “significant” brain damage, falling into a vegetative state which he remains in today ( on a ventilator and tracheal tube, unable to eat solid foods or speak). Plaintiff medical experts predicted his lifespan would be cut 7.5 years, from 39 years old to 31.5 years old.
Per Reuters, United reached a settlement with the family after the first day of court for $30 million. $12 million would go to the attorneys defending the Foster family, $3 million would go toward other trial costs, and $15 million would go to the family.
“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 settlement is still subject to judicial approval.
United Airlines has settled a lawsuit in which one of its contractors appears to have failed to properly secure and care for a patient in a wheelchair, causing extensive and permanent damage. This story is an important reminder that an organization is only as strong as its weakest link, but also that we must be vigilant in caring for those that we love. I hope this settlement brings about peace to the Foster family.
image: Stoll Law