Wednesday 28 September 2016

Ryanair files LA lawsuit over online 'bomb threats'

Published 26/02/2016 | 02:30

Ryanair has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles alleging extortion against 100 unknown defendants who made threats against the carrier. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire
Ryanair has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles alleging extortion against 100 unknown defendants who made threats against the carrier. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Ryanair is suing Twitter users who it claims threatened to blow up its jets and demanded money.

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The airline has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles alleging extortion against 100 unknown defendants who made threats against the carrier.

Some of the Twitter accounts named by Ryanair in the lawsuit have already been suspended.

In a court filing with the Los Angeles Superior Court, Ryanair said it's suing the 100 as of yet unnamed individuals, and will amend its complaint once it has determined the actual identities of the defendants. For now, they are identified as Does 1-100. Ryanair filed the case in Los Angeles because Twitter is based in California.

The airline claimed in its complaint that the threats made against it have included the following:

-"Hey @Ryanair Pay $50000000 to Vinnie@**** or I blow up 15 of your planes".

-"hello @Ryanair, you have 15 minutes before I commit the biggest terror attack UK has ever seen on one of your plans. Be ready."

-"I have a bomb on your plane @Rynair"

Ryanair told the court: "These threats constitute extortion as they are direct threats, or implied threats, whereby Does 1-100 claim that they will cause unlawful injury to Ryanair or third persons." It told the court that the alleged tweets were published during the course of the past year.

One Twitter user alerted the social media company nearly two weeks ago that the user of one account had allegedly made bomb threats against Ryanair and to "please sort this out".

Ryanair has not placed a ceiling on the amount of damages it's seeking, saying it wants the amount to be proven at trial.

However, it told the court it is seeking punitive damages, special damages, the costs associated with the lawsuit, and for a permanent and temporary injunction requiring the defendants to remove the offending tweets.

Ryanair is being represented by Shelley Hurwitz of Los Angeles law firm Holland and Knight. She has previously represented foreign and domestic US airlines in personal injuries claims, class actions and other civil matters.

Ryanair, which gives an address at Los Angeles Airport, has demanded a jury trial and estimated the case can be heard in just one day.

The defendants in the case now have less than 30 calendar days remaining to respond to summonses issued to them this earlier this week. Ryanair said it does not comment on ongoing litigation.

Irish Independent

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