ua777222
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Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:29 pm

Man Sues Airline For Being Seated Next To Obese Man
Delta Spokesman Calls Man's Lawsuit Trivial

ASHLAND, Ohio -- An Ashland man is suing Delta Airlines because he was seated next to an obese man during a two-hour flight last November.

Philip Shafer said that Delta breached its contract to provide him with a full seat and reasonable comfort. Shafer claims he suffered embarrassment, severe discomfort, mental anguish and severe emotional distress from the flight. "I think these large people have a responsibility to take control, either to get two seats, or talk to the airline," Shafer said. "The airline has a responsibility to take care of this problem. The last person who should be worried is the innocent passenger."

An attorney for Delta calls the suit trivial and said that it is not a legitimate issue. The case will go to court in mid-September


This is a rather old story but can you really sue an airline for someone's actions? I have been seated next to some people who have had weight issues but at no time did I feel that it required a complaint to the airline. I remember taking a flight to ZRH a few years back when I was tagging along on one of my mom's business trips and the man next to me was obese but fit into his seat. This was a Swiss MD-11 and the only issue that arose was that he could not get the tray table down. I think he ended up eating in the galley or being moved up to business or first, don't really recall.

Sad to see what the world has come to...

Thanks,

Matt

Please don't flame me for the topic title.
"It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark."
 
BR715-A1-30
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RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:50 pm

Somebody had to sit there... If there was another seat open, he could have taken it instead... If not, then he had the option to sit there or take another flight.. Stop bitching, and consider yourself lucky to be on the damn plane.
Puhdiddle
 
SonOfACaptain
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RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

Tue Mar 22, 2005 4:51 pm

On behalf of all, or most, people on this earth.... banghead 

-SOAC
Non Illegitimi Carborundum
 
lincoln
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RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:00 pm

Quoting UA777222 (Thread starter):
This is a rather old story but can you really sue an airline for someone's actions? I have been seated next to some people who have had weight issues but at no time did I feel that it required a complaint to the airline

Not the first time this has happened. (Airlines have been sued for "forcing" people to sit next to obese pax, for injuries as a result of bags falling out of overhead bins when someone else opened them...)

Note that Delta is not being sued for anyone's "actions" (I'm assuming the other gentleman's obesity is the action in this case), they are being sued for their action (or lack thereof) in providing the pax who is suing the exclusive use of the seat that he purchased (or something along those lines).

Would I complain? probably not...I'm a little stick (about 6'2" 130lbs), but I'd rather not have anyone invade the precious little personal space that I have, even if I'm not "using" it, for the N hours that that flight is going to last.

I would be very interested to see what legal basis the plantiff is using for the suit, and if it is premised on any kind of state right of action (violation of state law/state rights) then I'd be willing to bet money that this case gets bounced very quickly (or if not, that it gets bounced very quickly on appeal) since the Airline Deregulation Act (ADA)'s Preemption Clause prohibits states from "enact[ing] or enforc[ing] a law, regulation or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of an air carrier" (49 U.S.C. § 41713(b)(1)) -- and the courts have been most liberal in the interpertation of the meaning of the word "service"...

I would be most interested in the views of real lawyers in the house...

Lincoln
[Certainly not a lawyer and not pretending to be one; I just read caselaw in my spare time. Thank goodness for LexisNexis.]
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
Bels13
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RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese M

Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:01 pm

And you wonder why airlines are losing money. Because they have to defend themselves against the bad seeds of our culture. If only evolution would have acted earlier in this person's life. All people want to do today is sue and get paid money for nothing. It is time to get Congress to pass a new law regarding phony lawsuits. If a judge and/or jury feel that a lawsuit was unjust, then the person filling the lawsuit is required to pay the amount requested in the lawsuit to the company/person being sued. If that person doesn't have that much money, jail time would be served. That will end these McDonalds hot coffee or Delta Airlines sitting next to a larger person stuff real quick. I'm sure the attorneys would not like my stand on this.
 
SK A340
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RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:01 pm

Anyone agree with my theory that the (ridiculous) lawsuits is a real threat to the American society?

/Micke
 
Leskova
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RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:08 pm

Quoting UA777222 (Thread starter):
Delta breached its contract to provide him with a full seat and reasonable comfort.

Since when do the conditions of contract include "reasonable comfort"? And what is reasonable comfort?

Quoting UA777222 (Thread starter):
Shafer claims he suffered embarrassment, severe discomfort, mental anguish and severe emotional distress from the flight

Sorry, but I think this man really needs to see a shrink...

I buy the "severe discomfort" part (though I think that "severe" just might be a bit over the line), but...

He suffered embarrassment? Why? In what way? He wasn't the fat... oops, obese... guy!?! The slim or normal person sitting next to an obese person isn't the one made fun of...

Mental anguish? Severe emotional distress??? Please - someone get me a violin!!! And a tissue... I've got tears in my eyes from laughing so hard...

Regards,
Frank
Smile - it confuses people!
 
Blackhawk144
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RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:14 pm

SK A340,

Being an American and living in this society I have to agree.

This is getting beyond ridiculous.

Anthony
Time is the best of all teachers. Unfortunately, it kills all of its students!
 
SonOfACaptain
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RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:16 pm

Hey this reminds me. The first year my dad worked for US, he and the captain were sued for "purposely flying into turbulence and hurting his back." The funny thing is, US didn't want to go to court so they just paid him what he was asking for. Stupid people.

-SOAC
Non Illegitimi Carborundum
 
lincoln
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RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:35 pm

Quoting SonOfACaptain (Reply 8):
The funny thing is, US didn't want to go to court so they just paid him what he was asking for. Stupid people

Agreed.

I think many people realize that companies would rather avoid going to court and are generally egar to settle the claim out of court. I think that if companies instead said "Not our problem, see you in court" and battled it out in front of a judge and then claimed resonable attorney's fees when the moron lost I think it would start to send a message (since reasonable attorney's fees may quite easily exceed $30,000 in these cases)...it would further gridlock our judicial system for a period while the message was being sent, but eventually I think the number of frivoulous suits would drop significantly.

Quoting Bels13 (Reply 4):
If a judge and/or jury feel that a lawsuit was unjust, then the person filling the lawsuit is required to pay the amount requested in the lawsuit to the company/person being sued. If that person doesn't have that much money, jail time would be served. That will end these McDonalds hot coffee or Delta Airlines sitting next to a larger person stuff real quick.

Not that I'm saying that the current lawsuit-nation mentality is good, but I think this would be a major step backwards for American society -- all the way back to a cause of the Revolution.

Also, note that in the McDonald's case, the coffee was being served at an unsafe temperature, McDonald's had been warned repeatedly that the coffee was being served at an unsafe temperature (and was thus on notice), and McDonald's failed to fix a problem that they knew about before someone was seriously injured as a result.

Tort reform could be a very good thing for our country if done right. If not...

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
ua777222
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RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:35 pm

Here's a question for all of you,

Is the airline liable for their passengers actions? Say one passenger says something to another. One thing leads to another and they both end up beating the crap out of them. They both turn and say "hey they didn't stop him" and sue the airlines for assault or some charge that would justify what happened.

  • Does the airline have a right to say "what you do is your issue"

  • Are they bound by the sale of a ticket to prevent harm and to keep control of the a/c and the passengers inside.
  • In the case of a fight where those involved are injured, what is an airline supposed to do? Get into the fight and break it up? Sit back and say there was nothing to do?


  • Sad when airlines' passengers are the downfall of the industry. This might sound a bit dramatic but when low-fare-hungary passengers fly one airline over another causing a decline in the airlines numbers and they are bankrupt who is the airline supposed to blame? Themselves?

    Thanks,

    Matt

    **Sorry if some of the questions are off topic**
    "It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark."
     
    ANCFlyer
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:39 pm

    I will be the first to agree that law suits in the USA have gone crazy . . . well beyond crazy.

    However - I am not a small person being 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighing about 220 pounds. Put three people my size in a row of coach seats (that happened to me on CO about a year ago, my IAH flight from SFO went MX so they stuck me on a 738 to CLE and on to DCA in Y) and it is not comfortable. Manageable, but not comfortable.

    Any one larger and it's simply unbearable on a long haul . . . all carriers should adopt and enforce rules for obese passengers as does WN. I would not want to be squeezed between a couple of '12 sandwich eatin individuals' because the carrier was "afraid to offend a fat ass" make them pay for two seats . . . I mean, they're gonna take up 1 1/2 seats worth of room anyway, their own and the poor SOB stuck next to or between them.

    Make them pay, I see no reason not to . . .

    I have sympathy for those large persons whose condition is medical, and I want to make no mistake about it. For those that simply continue to shovel the groceries down their neck, too bad.

    [Edited 2005-03-22 09:41:30]
    FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
     
    SHUPirate1
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:39 pm

    Quoting UA777222,Topic-Starter:
    Please don't flame me for the topic title.

    UA777222, nah, I won't flame you for that, however, I will flame that Phillip Shafer moron for being so self-centered as to give you and everyone else this topic to talk about.

    This is Exhibit A as to why the civil justice system in the United States needs to be reformed.
    Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
     
    flick70
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:39 pm

    I am completely against frivolous lawsuits...but I honestly think this has merit. When I buy a seat, I am essentially buying real-estate for the duration of my trip. I understand that the guy in front might lay his seat back, but I should at least have my 19" across. Space is tight as it is without maxing out what little available room is there.

    I am a big guy, but I don't spill into the next seat. I have had experiences where I have been next to a 350lb+ guy and he truly was in my space. If you have a couple of hours of this, you end up getting the bends from leaning away. While not a major medical emergency, I can go for a few days with my back muscles still cramped.

    I would not expect millions in restitution, but I would like some kind of return for my situation of some sort. I highly doubt I would sue though. I can see the position of being an "injured party", but nothing that would be beyond small claims court.

    Truth be told, if the man next to him was that large, the airline should have accommodated either the large person or the person next to him. If completely full, the large person should have been bumped to the next flight. As annoying as the fact is...it should have been handled better.
    /// Braniff - We Get You There In Flying Colors /// (until Putnam got ahold of us)
     
    SHUPirate1
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:43 pm

    Quoting Flick70 (Reply 13):
    Truth be told, if the man next to him was that large, the airline should have accommodated either the large person or the person next to him. If completely full, the large person should have been bumped to the next flight. As annoying as the fact is...it should have been handled better.

    Flick...I don't want to open up another can of worms, however, what if the much-maligned Southwest Airlines "Customer of increased width" rule became standard throughout the industry? I'm not going to argue this one way or the other, but I would like to throw it out for debate.
    Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
     
    Jet-lagged
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:44 pm

    I think the lawsuit is frivolous, but he has a point. Why should another passenger be discomforted in such small seats if he or she is unlucky enough to be seated next to an obese person. American society these days says to forgive anything, and nothing ever seems to be anybody's personal fault (it is childhood or environment or stress blah blah blah). But when we get to shared resources, which includes 'public' transporation like airlines, all parties have some responsibility. And here I think airlines shouldn't let non-obese persons suffer, and obese persons should perhaps have to pay for two seats (like southwest is/was doing).
     
    ANCFlyer
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 5:49 pm

    Quoting SHUPirate1 (Reply 14):
    what if the much-maligned Southwest Airlines "Customer of increased width" rule became standard throughout the industry

    So, what is so maligned about the rule?

    I see it as a great rule, the pax that is obese pays for two seats, that way he/she isn't sitting in the seat paid for by another pax . . . seems simply enough to me.
    FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
     
    zvezda
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:06 pm

    ANCFlyer, you just made my respected users list.

    If a passenger doesn't fit in one seat, the airline should sell two seats or none. Selling one seat to someone who doesn't fit into it is, in my opinion, a breach of the contract the airline has with the neighboring passengers. If I buy a seat, I should be able to sit in it -- without my neighboring passengers sitting in my seat with me.
     
    Doona
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:25 pm

    I don't mean to be America-bashing or anything, but this way of solving conflicts is really ridiculous. Oh, I have a little inconvenienced by someone, so I think I'll sue them... And everytime you read about an american law suit it's always something more and more extreme. There's a good South Park episode that covers this...

    Still, airlines do have contracts of carriage, and this does certainly seem to be a breach of it. Why not offer the passenger a refund or perhaps free upgrades on his next few flights with the airline. And perhaps an apology is in order...

    Still, people: Stop suing each other. Apologies are better, cheaper, and not so stupid...

    Cheers
    Mats
    Sure, we're concerned for our lives. Just not as concerned as saving 9 bucks on a roundtrip to Ft. Myers.
     
    EnviroTO
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:34 pm

    There are a lot of frivolous lawsuits out there dealing with hot coffee and people injuring themselves through stupidity on other people's property... but this might not be one of those lawsuits. Rules that have a person that takes up two seats pays for two seats seems reasonable to me. Obesity costs money... health costs, food costs, clothing costs... why not airfares? Why should the airline pick up the tab for costs related in most cases to lifestyle and dietary choices of the customer? You wouldn't expect McDonald's to sell an obese person 3 Big Macs for the same price of a single Big Mac for a person of average weight.

    This lawsuit might be frivolous if the person sitting next to the man was big but not extremely obese and fit in their seat with the armrest down allowing the other customer to lean slightly the other way to avoid contact... but the details are lacking in this thread to ascertain what level of obesity we are talking about and what level of discomfort the passenger experienced.
     
    BCal Dc10
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:48 pm

    The same thing happened here in the UK a couple of years back where a woman was awarded £13k for being crushed by an obese woman sat next to her on a Virgin Atlantic flight. Must have been pretty bad to suffer those injuries....

    check the story... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/2346319.stm
     
    ZID
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 10:33 pm

    I tend to focus on two things in this situation:

    A) If the airlines are going to continue to use these 1960's 17" wide seats as the average person gets larger and larger, then they need to either sell two seats to obese people or no seats. If they don't want the hassle then make the seats wider. The sports world has adapted to the increasing size of humanity - as newer stadiums have wider seats than those built fifty or sixty years ago - so why can't the airline industry? (I know. The airplanes are only so wide, so in order to install wider seats, in a 737 for example, they'd have to go to a 2 - 3 layout which would cost them money. Oh well.)

    B) If you know that you are obscenely obese and won't fit into a coach seat then do the considerate thing and either upgrade to a larger seat in business, or purchase two seats. I would have spent the entire flight being upset at this individual for their selfishness and lack of respect for others. It may or may not be their fault for being obese, but it is their fault that they knowingly decided to subject discomfort onto others.
    I'm not joking! This is my job!
     
    curlyheadboy
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 10:53 pm

    I had a nightmare flight MXP-LAX sitting next to an obese man, he could not fit into the economy seat. He was a very nice and polite person, his embarrassment was visible as was my discomfort.

    My thought is that airlines should take care of the needs of those kind of persons as it is done for other disabilities. They have the right to travel with comfort even in economy, as the other people have too.
    If God had wanted men to fly he would have given them more money...
     
    isitsafenow
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:12 pm

    SK A340....You must understand that in the USA, in Washington those people are lawyers. Therefore, we have lawyers making work for lawyers. There will ALWAYs be silly lawsuits in the USA. Its now a way of life we cannot control.
    And I hate it!
    safe
    If two people agree on EVERYTHING, then one isn't necessary.
     
    tockeyhockey
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese M

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:21 pm

    Quoting SK A340 (Reply 5):
    Anyone agree with my theory that the (ridiculous) lawsuits is a real threat to the American society?

    /Micke

    i would think that a greater threat to american society is corporations and companies that are not being held accountable for destroying people's lives through toxic waste dumping, chemicals in the air and food, faulty and dangerous products and vaccines, not taking proper security precautions, etc. something like 100,000 people die every year in america as a result of medical malpractice. no one dies from a frivilous lawsuit.

    i agree that this lawsuit against delta is trivial, but if you curb a person's right to sue, you make it much more likely that we will all live in a more dangerous and deadly world.
     
    avek00
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:26 pm

    The cold truth is that the legislative and administrative processes in the USA are unable or unwilling to offer suitable recourse in many situations, forcing parties to seek a judicial remedy.

    In any event, I don't see this as being frivolous in the least. A pax who cannot fit into an Economy seat must either buy a sufficient number of seats or else fly in the First/Business Class cabin. It's unfortunate that this matter has to reach the lawsuit stage, but if airlines are too boneheaded to employ this measure of common sense, then they ought to pay for said idiocy.
    Live life to the fullest.
     
    ANCFlyer
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:33 pm

    Quoting Avek00 (Reply 25):
    The cold truth is that the legislative and administrative processes in the USA are unable or unwilling to offer suitable recourse in many situations, forcing parties to seek a judicial remedy.

    Yup, but they have to time to weigh in on medical or family decisions regarding brain dead patients in Florida . . . . sheeees. . . .

    Quoting Avek00 (Reply 25):
    In any event, I don't see this as being frivolous in the least. A pax who cannot fit into an Economy seat must either buy a sufficient number of seats or else fly in the First/Business Class cabin.

    Amen. I'd call it a safety issue as well. . . .what's going to happen if the a/c needs to be evacuated and the "waist line challenged" passenger is stuck in the seat, or aisle, or overwing exit, or all of the above, etc? By two seats or take the bus!
    FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
     
    Boeing73G
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:40 pm

    Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 26):
    Amen. I'd call it a safety issue as well. . . .what's going to happen if the a/c needs to be evacuated and the "waist line challenged" passenger is stuck in the seat, or aisle, or overwing exit, or all of the above, etc? By two seats or take the bus!

    Some airlines, such as AS, do not allow you to sit in an exit row if you need a seatbelt extension.
     
    Orion737
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:42 pm

    You Americans will sue for anything! This compensation culture is spreading to to Britain, much to the delight of lawyers.
     
    exFATboy
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:43 pm

    I don't think the issue is frivolous, but to claim "embarrassment, severe discomfort, mental anguish and severe emotional distress" just seems a little overboard. If the crowding or crushing was so severe that there was physical injury, then they'd have a point.

    But I don't think it's unreasonable to expect an airline to keep other people out of your seat. I spent an entire flight from TPA to LAS with someone's "adipose tissue" (that's a nice way of saying roll of fat!) lying [u]on top[/i] of my leg for the entire trip - when I got off the plane I had a huge sweat stain (hers and mine...EW!) on my pants leg and the first order of business was to go straight to the hotel, take a shower, and change. I don't think I should have to tolerate that...if someone is too large* to fit in a seat, they should have to buy two (or a First/Business seat.) Period.

    I applaud WN for enforcing their policy, and for telling NAAFA** to go to hell.

    * BTW, "too large" doesn't equate to "too fat" - one of the funniest things I've ever seen on an airplane was three bodybuilders smashed into a row of coach seats. They were literally wedged in, propped up against each other's shoulders. They were laughing at it, so I'm guessing they knew each other, but if someone who didn't know them had been stuck between two of them, the same rule would apply.

    ** "National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance." No, I'm not making that up.
     
    doug_or
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 12:09 am

    Quoting Avek00 (Reply 25):
    The cold truth is that the legislative and administrative processes in the USA are unable or unwilling to offer suitable recourse in many situations, forcing parties to seek a judicial remedy.

    More than any other liberal democracy I can think of, US citizens are paranoid about government regulation. The result is a set of rules and laws that on many saftey and buisness fronts, cannot be really enforced by understaffed and underfunded enforcement agencies. Our only recrouse, as Avek said, is then the courts. In a way its quintessentialy American- free market regulation, law enforcement by the invisible hand.

    Back on topic, I think the people callign this suit frivelous have never had someone sqeeze in next to them, unapolgeticly raise the armrest, then proceed to ooze onto a good half of YOUR seat. If you'd actauly experienced this, you'd be callign this guy a hero for actauly taking action. If anyone here seriously thinks this guy has a chance of getting rich of this case you've simply been brain washed by a few court cases that have garnered big media attention.
    When in doubt, one B pump off
     
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    Starlionblue
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 12:13 am

    Quoting Leskova (Reply 6):
    Quoting UA777222 (Thread starter):
    Shafer claims he suffered embarrassment, severe discomfort, mental anguish and severe emotional distress from the flight

    Sorry, but I think this man really needs to see a shrink...

    I buy the "severe discomfort" part (though I think that "severe" just might be a bit over the line), but...

    He suffered embarrassment? Why? In what way? He wasn't the fat... oops, obese... guy!?! The slim or normal person sitting next to an obese person isn't the one made fun of...

    Mental anguish? Severe emotional distress??? Please - someone get me a violin!!! And a tissue... I've got tears in my eyes from laughing so hard...

    Well, I doubt he really suffered all these things. But if they are not mentioned in the suit it becomes (even more) frivolous.
    "There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
     
    flyabunch
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    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 12:18 am

    Several points I would like to add. I am not a small person. I have shoulders that are 19" wide. Even if I was skinny, my shoulders extend beyond the 17" seat. If the person next to me is small, no problem. If they are large, then we are both uncomfortable.

    The reason there are so many frivilous lawsuits is that there are too many lawyers and the the people in charge of tort reform (congress) are mostly lawyers by profession themselves. I had a professor in college that said law was the only profession that provided enough free time to be a politician.

    I would like to propose the "seat and a half" coach plan. Instead of selling large people two seats, have them buy one and a half. Then group them together. There are always more than one on a flight that could use the extra space.

    Plus, if it were managed correctly, then people that are not large may actually buy one and a half tickets in order to get the extra room.

    The tickets could be about 130-140% of a single ticket as the true cost is not 150% of a single ticket, less handling, etc.

    Just a thought....

    Mike
     
    txagkuwait
    Posts: 1388
    Joined: Fri Aug 27, 1999 7:39 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 12:34 am

    I wish I had thought of a lawsuit when a very similar incident happened on America West a year or so ago....

    I was flying SAN-PHX-ELP on HP since Southwest was full.

    They assigned me a seat (ooooh the luxury of having the airline tell you where to sit) and I went on down to the gate and climbed on the "Barbie Dream Jet" (a Mesa RJ) only to discover my window seat was the back row of the aircraft, and the aisle seat was occupied by a gentleman weighing, I would guess, about 400 lbs.

    Of course, he was also occupying my seat too, but I digress.

    I wouldn't sit down, he had the armrest already up, and I had asked him to lower the arm rest, and he said he could not. Finally the FA came over and asked what the problem was. I told her I was unable to sit in that seat until the gentleman put the armrest down and I was allowed free and unfettered use of the seat I had paid for. I suggested that I be reseated.

    The FA told me, basically, that the flight was full; I could either sit down or get off the plane, and that I needed to decide soon since I was delaying the departure.

    America West agreed to refund my ticket (big whoopie, since it was a fully refundable Y fare) or place me on priority standby for the next departure.

    I took my refund and went over to WN and took my chances and managed to get on as a standby. What was even more poignant is that the PHX-ELP leg on America West cancelled so I ended up getting home a lot earlier.

    The moral of this story is (1) I do have a good reason for not flying America West and (2) obese passengers ought to buy two seats, no argument, no nothing....just buy two seats and get on the plane.
     
    jeffrito
    Posts: 125
    Joined: Mon May 28, 2001 3:17 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 12:49 am

    Quoting Flyabunch (Reply 32):
    I would like to propose the "seat and a half" coach plan.

    Very good idea!

    Quoting SK A340 (Reply 5):
    Anyone agree with my theory that the (ridiculous) lawsuits is a real threat to the American society?

    You may be right, but the whole issue is way over-hyped. Most of the ridiculous stories are just ... stories.

    e.g. http://www.snopes.com/legal/lawsuits.asp
     
    ltbewr
    Posts: 12361
    Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:24 pm

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:00 am

    It is unfortunatate that lawsuits have to be brought to deal with such a problem, keeping out and delaying justice for others and causing significant costs for the Defendant. We are also dealing with a sensitive subject for many on both sides, with more crowded aircraft where there may not be any extra seats to spare to accomidate people of size and financially strained airlines.
    When 'people of size' travel, what should be the limit? Should there be a device to see if a person can fit into a regular seat, as (should be more often) used as to carry-on luggage? What about tall people, should they get priority for exit row or bulkhead seats and have to go thourgh a device to see if they are above a certain height to qualify for those seats? If you give the bulkhead/exit seats to only tall people, then you anger the FF premium flyer.
    WN seems to be the only airline that recognizes, perhaps due to their high load factors, the need to enforce a 'person of size' rule. Of course, many obese people wave the ADA law flag whenever they are asked to pay more for a bigger seat, causing a scene at the check-in or gate that no airline wants to see and no CSA want's to deal with.
    Let us also not forget that probably 75% of airline seats are sold online, not in person with a travel agent or airline ticket office, so there is no way until the person gets to check-in or the gate that they are a person of size. Let's face a fact - people of size are not going to volunteer that they are that as expect to pay the same as any other pax. This problem and reactions to it will continue, especially at a time of horrible econimics and declining service at all airlines and people asserting their 'rights'.
     
    twa727
    Posts: 20
    Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:15 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:05 am

    Unfortunately, lawsuits are one of the few ways in America that an individual can (legally) exert power over large corporations to affect change. Sure, you can try to organize a group of people to boycott the company and hope that you can exert enough financial pressure to change things. However, its a lot easier to use a personal big stick (a lawsuit), or hire someone (a lawyer) to organize a lynch mob for you (class-action lawsuit).

    In this case, I expect (hope?) that the person filing the lawsuit isn't really looking for financial damages. He's just tired of the situation and is doing the one thing he can think of to try to make a change.
     
    airbazar
    Posts: 6802
    Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 11:12 pm

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:15 am

    Without knowing the details, I hope he wins. When I buy an airplane ticket I'm buying a seat for myself and don't expect to have to share that seat with anyone else.
     
    manu
    Posts: 265
    Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 1:22 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:18 am

    Quoting Txagkuwait (Reply 33):

    The moral of this story is (1) I do have a good reason for not flying America West and (2) obese passengers ought to buy two seats, no argument, no nothing....just buy two seats and get on the plane.

    I agree with your hypothesis, but lets look at this the other way. If that seat was not available because the individual purchased two seats, would you sue for not having the right to board as there was 3/4 of a seat free?

    I've been lucky in my travels. I'm skinny, muscular and tall (triathlete) and often have no problem in even the smallest of seat widths, it is just pitch I have an issue with. Do I need to purchase a seat with bigger seat pitch just because I am 6'? What if the person in front of me cannot put their seat back? Would they sue the airline as they could not be comfortable?

    Just some questions for you skinny talk folks. While I don't want some larger person taking over my seat area, I've got to consider where is the balance? Maybe that's what the US courts will decide.

    Common sense is something society seems to be loosing on a daily basis. Hopefully it'll prevail in this case.
     
    BCAL
    Posts: 2925
    Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 10:16 pm

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:20 am

    Well if the guy wins his case, I shall sue the airline that next seats me next to a screaming/misbehaving kid on a flight. In an US Court of course!
    MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
     
    pilotaydin
    Posts: 2099
    Joined: Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:30 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:33 am

    why is this guy suing? i mean if you crashed, he had the highest chance, sitting next to a nice airbag...

    some people are quite unethical.....severe emotion BLAH...PLEASE....
    The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
     
    ITGeek
    Posts: 65
    Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:00 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:38 am

    I wanted to comment on this thread from the point of view of a "waist-challenged" individual. I have absolutely no problem buying an extra seat whenever I fly. The comfort for me and whoever gets the remaining seat/s in the row are worth every penny of the extra cost. I get more room than a first class seat at a fraction of the cost and if I fly WN will get refunded for the extra seat if the flight is not sold out. The bargain basement prices of most domestic US flights make this a no-brainer for me.

    If each airline had the policy of refunding the cost of the extra seat if the flight does not sell out, I believe that this is a fair deal and should be enforced.

    Now if only they could enforce a similar policy on the bathing-challenged PAX that would be sweet.




     vomit 
    Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt
     
    garnetpalmetto
    Posts: 5351
    Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 1:38 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:43 am

    Quoting Bels13 (Reply 4):
    That will end these McDonalds hot coffee



    Quoting EnviroTO (Reply 19):
    There are a lot of frivolous lawsuits out there dealing with hot coffee

    Actually, the infamous McDonald's hot coffee case was QUITE legitimate, so it bears no resemblance to this case. The woman in that case suffered 3rd degree burns over 6% of her body, requiring skin grafts, debridement, and a total time in the hospital of a week. As a result she couldn't walk for about a year afterwards. Trust me when you say that if you think you know everything about that case, you probably don't.

    Quoting Bels13 (Reply 4):
    If a judge and/or jury feel that a lawsuit was unjust, then the person filling the lawsuit is required to pay the amount requested in the lawsuit to the company/person being sued.

    Already happens. It's standard language in an Answer for the defendant's attorney to request cost of defense and any other relief the judge deems appropriate.

    As for this case, without reading the full complaint, I'd have to mentally stay neutral, but my gut feeling is that it's frivolous and like most frivolous suits, will get dismissed.
    South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
     
    planespotterx
    Posts: 1259
    Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2001 1:34 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:46 am

    Would the man sue the guy if he was thin, or tall or short or racially different?, if idiots like him get away with sueing airlines for being sat next to someone whos a bit overweight it'll get to the point where a airlines being sued because some guy/girl sat next to someone with brown hair.
    Its plain ridiculous and stupid.
    Its not the fall that kills u, its the sudden stop at the end..
     
    loggat
    Posts: 426
    Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2000 11:34 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 1:47 am

    Lawyers are one of the only professions that are in existence because they are self sustaining. The only reason we have lawyers is because the other guy has a lawyer. It's sad. Frivolous lawsuits piss me off. I do not think it is right that this guy had to share his seat with a "person of size" but he certainly is not owed thousands in compensation. An inexpensive gesture by the airline in compensation should be in order (not that they have done anything wrong by fully booking a flight, not expecting to have a problem with oversized people), such as an upgrade voucher, a partial refund, etc.

    So much of this lawsuit crap in America is a way for lazy people to make as much money as possible for as little work as possible.

    I think for the most part I agree with the consensus of this forum, so I won' go on.

    I do have one question though...

    Can thin people buy half a seat for 60% of the price?
    There are 3 types of people in this world, those that can count, and those that can't.
     
    ZID
    Posts: 292
    Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 4:33 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:06 am

    Quoting Planespotterx (Reply 43):
    Would the man sue the guy if he was thin, or tall or short or racially different?,

    Uhhhh yeah, that's the exact same thing because a tall, thin, short or racially different person would also physically inconvenience him and take away part of the seat that he had purchased.  Yeah sure

    Way to go pal. Nothing like a little irrational blather to break up the monotony of rational discourse.
    I'm not joking! This is my job!
     
    PHXinterrupted
    Posts: 461
    Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2002 6:41 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:20 am

    If Delta had done the right thing in the first place we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    Obese people should have to pay for two coach seats or a first class seat.
    Keepin' it real.
     
    SHUPirate1
    Posts: 3428
    Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2003 2:53 pm

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:35 am

    Quoting PHXinterrupted (Reply 46):
    Obese people should have to pay for two coach seats or a first class seat.

    PHX-OK, let me ask you a question then. I'm a stick figure who weighs about 40 pounds soaking wet...now, should I be able to get a discount because I only take up half of a seat? Sorry, but airlines sell airfare based on the number of people travelling, not the amount of body mass on the plane. What an airline can do, however, is tell said obese person that he has to keep the armrest down, so as not to make the poor soul next to him incredibly uncomfortable, or you can reseat the obese person next to either a small child travelling as an unaccompanied minor or, if he happens to be on that flight, the stick figure who is referred to on the forum as SHUPirate1.
    Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
     
    PIA777
    Posts: 1841
    Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2003 9:39 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:44 am

    I was flying from ATL-DFW last month on a 737-800 and a DELTA Captain was
    seated next to me, He was big and it was pretty uncomfortable.

    PIA777
    GO CUBS!!
     
    OV735
    Posts: 832
    Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2004 8:49 am

    RE: Delta Sued For Being Seated Next To An Obese Man

    Wed Mar 23, 2005 2:45 am

    Shafer claims he suffered embarrassment, severe discomfort, mental anguish and severe emotional distress

    Apart from the "severe discomfort", I can't figure out what kind of emotional problems does a man have to have in order to suffer embarrassment, mental anguish and severe emotional distress just because there is a fat person sitting next to him.

    And on a flight only lasting for two hours?

    Maybe I should sue the airline when they assign this guy to sit next to me, because I had to sit next to a crybaby?

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