Lawsuit Against Alaska Airlines Over Disturbing Incident

Seattle, WA – Alaska Airlines is facing a lawsuit from three passengers who claim to have suffered emotional distress during a recent flight. The incident occurred when an off-duty pilot allegedly attempted to shut down the plane’s engines while riding in the cockpit from Washington state to San Francisco.

The plaintiffs, Matthew Doland and Theresa Stelter of San Francisco, along with Paul Stephen of Kenmore, WA, argue that the airline should not have allowed the pilot into the cockpit due to his reported depression and lack of sleep.

In response to the lawsuit, Alaska Airlines issued a statement expressing their commitment to reviewing the complaint. They praised the swift actions of the pilots and flight attendants on Flight 2059, operated by Alaska affiliate Horizon Air, who ensured the safety of all onboard.

According to charging documents, 44-year-old pilot Joseph David Emerson was occupying the jump seat in the cockpit when he suddenly stated, “I’m not OK.” He proceeded to attempt activating a fire-suppression system and cutting fuel to the engines by pulling two handles. The quick response of the pilot and crew members allowed Flight 2059 to safely divert to Portland, OR. Emerson was promptly subdued and willingly restrained in the back of the plane by law enforcement.

This disturbing incident has prompted a legal battle that will determine the responsibility of Alaska Airlines for allowing an emotionally distressed individual access to the cockpit.

Lawsuit Alleges Plane Incident and Emotional Distress

A recent lawsuit claims that a plane experienced a sudden descent, causing distress among passengers. However, some passengers interviewed in news accounts have not corroborated this claim. One passenger, Aubrey Gavello, reported that they were unaware of any issues until a flight attendant made an emergency announcement.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs have experienced anxiety, insomnia, and fear of flying, among other emotional effects, following the incident. They are seeking class-action status to represent other affected passengers. The lawsuit argues that the airline had a duty of care towards its passengers and failed to uphold it by allowing Emerson into the cockpit.

Daniel Laurence, an aviation lawyer from The Stritmatter Firm representing the plaintiffs, emphasized the importance of airlines taking proactive measures to ensure pilots are fit to fly. Had these measures been in place, Emerson’s presence onboard could have been avoided, potentially preventing a disastrous outcome.

Although it is common for off-duty pilots to occupy jump seats and occasionally assist in emergencies, Emerson’s case highlights the potential risks associated with this practice. Emerson has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder charges in Oregon state court and is scheduled for arraignment on a federal charge of interfering with a flight crew later this month.

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