Sunday 20 January 2019

Passenger 'hit by rum bottle' sues Aer Lingus in US

Aer Lingus failed to respond to a request for comment. Photo: Bloomberg
Aer Lingus failed to respond to a request for comment. Photo: Bloomberg
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Aer Lingus is being sued by a passenger who alleges that he suffered "disabling injuries" after being hit with a bottle of rum during a transatlantic flight.

The personal-injuries action was filed in the US by a man who claims that a large bottle of Bacardi fell on him from an overhead luggage bin when it was opened by another passenger.

Among other things, restaurant owner John Loughlin, from Rhode Island, has alleged negligence, improper packing, improper checking and failure to secure overhead bin containers.

The incident is alleged to have happened during a flight from Boston to Dublin in April 2016.

The proceedings were issued against the national flag carrier in a court in Massachusetts.

In a court filing, the airline's lawyers confirmed receipt of the summons issued by Mr Loughlin. Aer Lingus has until the middle of August to lodge a response to the claim or file a motion with the court.

The airline did not respond to a request for comment.

It has previously stated that it does not comment on matters before the courts.

In his complaint, Mr Loughlin's lawyers said he was sitting in his assigned seat during the flight when another passenger opened an overhead compartment.

"As the compartment opened, a large bottle of Bacardi rum fell from the overhead compartment directly onto Mr Loughlin," the complaint said.

It said Aer Lingus was responsible for the training and supervision of staff, including their adherence to safety standards and protocols.

The exact nature of the injuries allegedly sustained were not detailed in the complaint.

However, they were described as "serious, permanent and disabling" to his body.

It was also claimed that Mr Loughlin required extensive medical treatment and will need more in the future.

The airline has faced a number of lawsuits in the US in recent years. In 2015 it successfully defended a $1m lawsuit filed by a passenger whose engagement ring and other valuables were allegedly stolen from luggage.

However, the following year it settled a lawsuit taken on behalf of a young boy, who was scalded with hot water on a transatlantic flight.

Irish Independent

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