Dog’s death on United flight should result in family being ‘significantly compensated’, says lawyer of man dragged from flight

The lawyer for the man who was dragged off a United Airlines flight says that incident may have set the stage for the death of a dog on the airline.

According to reports, a United flight attendant insisted that a dog be placed in the overhead compartment for the entirety of the flight even though it was held in a TSA-approved pet carrier.

Also read: United had the most animal deaths in 2017—and they doubled in just one year

Thomas Demetrio, partner at Chicago law firm Corboy & Demetrio, who handled the case of Dr. David Dao, who was dragged from a United Airlines flight a year ago, says passengers now fear swift and aggressive reaction from flight attendants.

“People understand much more so after Dr. Dao that you don’t mess with the flight attendant. They rule the world and if there’s controversy they will simply run to the captain” and recommend a removal from the flight, he said.

Demetrio said the family of the dog should be “significantly compensated,” for the tragic death of the pet.

Demetrio declined to comment on how much Dao received from the airline after his well-publicized incident.

The attorney said United Continental Holdings Inc. UAL, -2.69% the parent of United Airlines, should step up with an out-of-court settlement.

“There’s clearly a legal claim, it’s just a matter of United avoiding that,” Demetrio told MarketWatch in an interview.

“I think that the compensation should be significant. I really think so. I think this was a very traumatic experience. This dog was effectively murdered right above them,” the attorney said.

Also see: How the Trump administration is looking to change rules protecting air travelers

‘I think that the compensation should be significant. I really think so. I think this was a very traumatic experience. This dog was effectively murdered right above them,’

—Thomas Demetrio, partner at Chicago law firm Corboy & Demetrio

United has since apologized: “We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them. We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again.”

As for the death of the dog, Demetrio explained that he was a dog lover and said “It’s really the opposite of compassion that occurred.”

“I am a dog lover, but even a dog lover has to be somewhat amazed that a flight attendant would think it was a good idea that the dog be placed in an overhead bin. It’s United’s obligation to a passenger carrying a dog to use common sense and to supply safety and obviously it failed to supply safety. It was really very poorly handled,” he said.

Shares of United were down 1.9% in Wednesday trade. So far this year, United’s stock has gained 5.7%, compared with 0.6% year-to-date climb in the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -1.07%  and a return of 3.1% for the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.62% according to FactSet data.

Read: Stock market slides on rising fears of trade war

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