(Adds American Airlines comment, paragraph 3)
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, June 15 An American Airlines plane
flew to its destination rather than make an emergency landing
after a runaway beverage cart struck a passenger's head during
takeoff, leaving him with a severe brain injury, according to a
negligence lawsuit on Thursday.
Charles and Helga Johnson, a married couple from
Stanfordville, New York, are seeking at least $10 million in
damages from American Airlines Group Inc in a complaint
filed in the federal court in White Plains, New York.
Matt Miller, a spokesman for American, said the largest U.S.
carrier is reviewing the complaint.
The lawsuit comes at a time of increased focus on how
airlines treat passengers after an April video went viral of
United Airlines passenger David Dao being dragged from his seat
to make way for a crew member.
According to Thursday's complaint, an unmoored, fully
stocked, 300-pound beverage cart struck Charles Johnson in the
head after it flew down the aisle on Flight 1941 to Charlotte,
North Carolina from Hartford, Connecticut on April 28, 2016.
Johnson said the impact caused his hat to be ripped off his
head and resulted in a large forehead gash, severe bleeding and
a loss of consciousness.
But rather than land, the pilot flew on more than two hours
to Charlotte, as a nurse and other passengers cared for Johnson
because the cabin crew did not know how, the complaint said.
Johnson said he now suffers from "chronic traumatic brain
injury and post-concussive syndrome," headaches, mood swings and
He has also been unable to work or bend down, and has seen
his marriage become "strained" because of his injuries, the
The Johnsons are also seeking punitive damages, reflecting
what they called Fort Worth, Texas-based American's "gross
negligence" and "reckless disregard" for their well-being.
A lawyer for the Johnsons did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.
The case is Johnson et al v. American Airlines Inc, U.S.
District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 17-04515.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Cynthia
Osterman and Diane Craft)