In a move that shouldn't surprise anyone, David Dao—the physician whose violent removal from a United Airlines flight was caught on video and then went viral—is reportedly in the process of filing a lawsuit.
This was reported by CNN even as Dr. Dao's attorneys and his daughter were giving a press conference. It's no wonder the 69-year-old physician sought representation in the first place—his representatives said he suffered significant injuries when he was dragged off a flight from Chicago to Kentucky.
Dao's nose was broken, he has a concussion, and he lost two teeth. Attorney Thomas Demetrio said Dao will require reconstructive surgery. This plus the emotional trauma evident in the video would logically equal one hell of a big payday for pain and suffering.
In the press conference, Demetrio pointed out that David Dao "was not a nutjob, this was not a threat to anybody."
Dao's daughter, Crystal Dao Pepper, spoke at the press conference as well. She said her dad "is a wonderful father" who has "raised with my mother five great children."
"He is a loving grandfather," Pepper continued, "our lives have been interrupted. Our normalcy is not where it was on Sunday morning." Pepper also said her family was "‘horrified, shocked and sickened" at what happened to her father.
As to what Dao might sue for, Arthur Wolk, an expert in aviation law, told Town & Country that the physician could file suit for assault and battery and also might have grounds for civil rights-based action as well.
Wolk went on to tell T&C that he didn't really think Dao and his attorneys would end up in court. "My view here," he said, "is Dr. Dao has a very good case against United Airlines... and if I were United Airlines, I'd be all over him to try to get him to accept a reasonable compensation and to go away."
Dr. Dao may have plenty of lawsuits to choose from, really, since issues he's had in the past were dragged out into the light after the video went viral, in spite of them being completely irrelevant to his apparent treatment by United.
Attorney Thomas Demetrio described airlines in general as "bullies" in the press conference, and many might agree. Hopefully changes in the way some providers treat passengers are on the way, if for no other reason than to avoid another dramatic and troubling viral video.