After Dr. David Dao, 69, was asked by United Airlines to give up his seat on an overbooked flight from Chicago to Louisville on April 9, he was violently removed by police, after being manhandled, which resulted in him being bloodied and disoriented. Once video footage of the awful incident made its way around the internet, HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY spoke with multiple lawyers about Dao’s legal options after the incident. And, there could be an insane payday in his future…
“He [Dao] will always be messed up from this. There’s going to be enough money from this that there will be generations of his family that will be well off,” Attorney Randy Scott Zelin PC, told HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY. “I would say a fair starting number would be the millions. He’s going to be very wealthy.” Wow.
Although we cannot speculate about an exact number, our other legal expert, Ylber Albert Dauti of The Dauti Law Firm, who specializes in litigation cases, also told us, “It is safe to say that he will be a millionaire after all is said and done.” However, the amount of money will depend on the right lawyer. “How much he makes will depend a lot on how good and aggressive his lawyer will be,” Dauti said.
It turns out that all of our legal experts, including Former Federal Prosecutor and Managing Partner of Wildes & Weinberg P.C., Michael Wildes, all had one thing in common — The airlines had “no right” to remove Dao, especially in the manner that they executed the removal in. “Yes, technically, the airline has the right to remove a passenger from the plane, but only for the right reasons, such as passenger’s violent behavior and other conduct that endangers the wellbeing of other passengers,” Dauti said. “In this case, the airline was clearly wrong to do what it did.”
Wildes felt the same. “I don’t think they have the right to manhandle and physically remove someone,” he explained. “Only a judge can rule the physical removal of an individual from an airplane unless there is a crime, threat or risk of other passengers. Despite legal waivers on tickets, there is still a respect of the law that needs to be upheld.” Interesting.
As for what Dao can actually sue for at this point, based on the information released:
“This man can sue for physical battery and assault, which is beyond the protocol of police conduct,” Wildes said, who believes that Dao has a “strong” case for the courts.
And that’s not all — “There could be a case of discrimination, because they [the airlines] told the public that they attempted to keep families together [in their actions to remove people at random], but clearly, here, they were splitting a husband and a wife,” Wildes said. “Clearly the gentleman was Asian American and should be acting to protect all causes of action.
Additionally, “There could even be class action suits from other people who were similarly disrespected,” Wildes explained. “If this is all the case, this company [United Airlines] should shut its doors. The airline’s reputation is beyond repair.”
Wildes believes that Dao could have suffered the following:
“Intentional infliction of emotional distress; his reputation is marked, potential consequences to his patients; consequential damages for any work loss; emotional and psychological damage this causes with him and the family.”
If this case even makes it to a court, Zelin believes that a jury would react “mortified,” after hearing the frightening details from the incident, just like the passengers on the plane did when they witnessed it. In fact, Zelin believes that the case will be settled out of court. “In my opinion, this case will not ever going to see a trial; that would be a suicide run for the airlines.” Yikes.
Wildes also added that the airline is simply unable to be trusted at this point. “This company has placed their employees over customers and that is unacceptable even if it meant taking out a new plane, they should be respecting their customers,” he said. “That public trust is now breached from that evening.”
HollywoodLifers, what do you think will happen after this horrific incident?