Two men, including an unnamed NFL player, are suing United Airlines, claiming that a woman sexually assaulted and harassed the player on a flight, and that the airline didn’t take proper steps after they complained.
The lawsuit, verified by multiple media outlets, was filed in a Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday. The plaintiffs are listed as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2. Their attorney declined to identify the plaintiffs in a statement to TMZ.
“Those who report assaults should not be ignored, but believed, their claims investigated and appropriate action taken where warranted,” the statement reads.
Lawsuit: United didn’t act to prevent assault
According to the lawsuit, the alleged incident occurred on a Feb. 10 flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey and that a fellow passenger “sexually harassed, assaulted, abused, and violated” the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs claim that they alerted flight attendants four times about the woman before they eventually moved her to another seat.
According to the suit, they notified attendants the first time when the woman was belligerent and appeared to be intoxicated. The NFL player who was in the middle seat claims that she immediately harassed him over the safety mask he was wearing when she sat down next to him by the window. The plaintiffs claim that’s when they made their first complaint.
The second plaintiff claims to have observed the woman taking pills. The plaintiffs claim that the woman later started to grope and massage the NFL player’s thighs, prompting a second complaint to flight staff.
Suit: Woman grabbed at player’s genitals
The woman continued to advance on the NFL player, “grabbing and groping his quads and then stroking her hand across his lap towards the inside of his leg near his genitals,” according to the suit. Another complaint was met without action from flight staff, according to the suit.
The player says the woman eventually ripped off his mask and grabbed at his penis, prompting him to leap up from his seat and complain to the entire plane. That’s when flight staff moved her to another seat toward the back of the plane, according to the suit.
United allegedly offered $150 vouchers
The suit claims that the airline refused to give the plaintiffs the name of the woman in addition to other passengers and flight staff who could have acted as witnesses. The suit says the airline offered both plaintiffs $150 vouchers. They’re seeking unspecified statutory and punitive damages from the airline, claiming negligence and infliction of emotional distress.
United provided a statement to TMZ.
"The safety and well-being of our customers is always our top priority,” the statement reads. “In this instance, the customer involved was moved to a different seat. Because litigation is now pending, we’re unable to provide further comment.”
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