The man whose forceful removal from an airliner in Chicago sparked a national firestorm and potential legislation to end the airlines business practices blamed for precipitating the incident has settled with United Airlines, ending his threat of litigation against the airline over the incident.
On Thursday, April 27, attorneys for David Dao announced the settlement, saying United and its CEO Oscar Munoz had done “the right thing” in settling with Dao and avoiding litigation.
“Mr. Munoz said he was going to do the right thing, and he has,” Dao’s attorney, Thomas Demetrio, said in a prepared statement. “In addition, United has taken full responsibility for what happened on Flight 3411, without attempting to blame others, including the city of Chicago. For this acceptance of corporate accountability, United is to be applauded.”
Dao was represented in the settlement talks by Demetrio, of the firm of Corboy & Demetrio, and attorney Stephen Golan, of the firm of Golan Christie Taglia.
Demetrio said the settlement amount would “remain confidential,” saying it was a condition of the settlement proposed by United.
The April 9 incident had been video recorded and shared by other passengers on the flight, and from there, had been viewed across the globe, prompting widespread outrage directed at United Airlines and the Chicago Aviation Police over their handling of the incident, which included dragging Dao on his back up the aisle of the aircraft’s passenger cabin, after Dao refused orders to give up his seat on the “overbooked” flight, to make room for airline employees the airline had determined needed to fly on that flight to their next destination.
Dao asserted he had suffered a concussion and broken teeth from the incident.
In the weeks since the incident, Demetrio had indicated Dao intended to sue United.
Outrage from the incident had also prompted lawmakers to consider measures to prohibit airlines from continuing their “overbooking” practices, which essentially allow them to sell more tickets than there are seats on a particular flight, on the presumption some passengers won’t fly. However, when all passengers do report for a particular flight, it can lead to situations in which airlines need to remove certain passengers to open seats.
On the April 9 flight, Dao refused to surrender his seat when requested, and then ordered by the airline and police, leading to his removal and the incident.
In recent days, United joined other airlines in announcing changes to its policies, including offering up to $10,000 to passengers asked to surrender seats on overbooked flights.
“Dr. Dao has become the unintended champion for the adoption of changes which will certainly help improve the lives of literally millions of travelers,” Demetrio said in his statement.