- American Airlines fights back against federal lawsuit accusing them of accountability for employee’s criminal actions.
- American Airlines attorneys argue the airline should not be held liable for independent acts of their employees.
- A federal judge is expected to make a ruling on the case in the next few weeks, while criminal charges against the flight attendant still remain.
On Monday, February 5, American Airlines officially requested a judge to dismiss a federal lawsuit against the airline. The lawsuit originated from the criminal act of an American Airlines flight attendant, in which the flight attendant was accused of recording a teenage girl in the bathroom on a flight last year. The flight attendant, Estes Carter Thompson III, was arrested in Virginia last month. The family of the teenage girl, who was only 14 years old at the time of the incident, filed a federal lawsuit against both Thompson and American Airlines.
American Airlines arguing back
The federal lawsuit against American Airlines was to hold the airline accountable for its employees’ actions. The family believes that American Airlines should have been aware of the flight attendant’s actions and that he was dangerous to passengers aboard American Airlines flights.
Photo: Robin Guess | Shutterstock
Per WSCO-TV, the father of the teenage girl said,
“Unfortunately, it seems like this is the only way that we can get any kind of accountability. Which is just sad.”
However, attorneys for American Airlines believe that the lawsuit should be dismissed and that the airline should not be held responsible for the independent act of one of its employees. Per WSCO-TV, American Airlines attorneys reported their stance in an official filing on January 30. The statement read,
“The defendant is not liable for intentional acts or crimes of its employees where it did not know of a propensity or disposition to commit either.”
The attorneys for the affected family have called this a standard boilerplate defense. A federal judge is expected to make an official ruling in the next several weeks. The criminal charges against Thompson still remain, and the case will be held in Massachusetts.
On a September 2 flight from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), the teenager allegedly found the flight attendant’s phone taped to the toilet seat in the plane lavatory. Per WCNC, the family claimed that Thompson advised the teenager to use the first-class bathroom and also ventured into the lavatory after the girl left.
On January 19, the United States Attorney’s Office of the District of Massachusetts revealed that Thompson was officially arrested. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which led the investigation, officially charged Thompson with attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of child pornography depicting a minor.
Allegedly, the perpetrator had four other recordings of minors using the bathroom while he was a flight attendant aboard other flights. These recordings were found once the FBI searched Thompson’s iCloud account. The victims in those incidents were 7, 9, 11, and 14 years old at the time of each incident, per WCNC.