United Sued for In-Flight Sexual Assault
"Despite screaming and repeatedly asking for help, at no time did United remove Ms. Campos from harm's way. She was forced to be on this flight for over 50 minutes in the dark while the assailant continued to sexually assault and harass her on the airplane," said Tobin. "This took place one week after United CEO Oscar Munoz issued an open letter telling everyone that he would not tolerate sexual harassment or sexual assaults on United Airlines. There is no policy in place which was clear by the lack of reaction by the flight attendants."
On December 19, 2017, plaintiff Katie Campos had a ticket for travel from Newark, New Jersey to Buffalo, New York aboard United Airlines Flight 1683.
Campos and her fiancée Erin were returning from the Bahamas where they were celebrating their engagement. Campos was assigned seat 26D, which was the aisle seat of the three-seat configuration utilized by United's aircraft. Erin was seated in seat 26C, right across the aisle from Campos.
Their last leg of their journey home from Newark to Buffalo experienced a significant delay of seven hours. The flight was originally scheduled to depart Newark at 4:00 p.m. EST, but did not take off until approximately 11:00 p.m. EST.
Michael Hildebrand, another passenger on the flight, consumed a substantial amount of alcohol at an airport restaurant during the seven-hour delay. Hildebrand consumed approximately $180.00 worth of alcohol at an airport restaurant during the delay.
After taking her seat, Campos observed Hildebrand entering the aircraft and noticed that he was visibly intoxicated.
When the boarding was complete, Campos was seated in the aisle seat, with Hildebrand immediately to her right. Another young woman sat to Hildebrand's right – the window seat.
Immediately upon taking his seat, Hildebrand began to touch and harass the young woman seated by the window, touching her face and asking "if he could kiss her." The young woman repeatedly asked Hildebrand to stop.
Hildebrand turned to his attention on Campos just as the plane began its takeoff procedure. Without her consent, he thrust his hand between her legs and forcefully grabbed her inner thigh and crotch. Campos, alarmed and fearful for her safety, shoved Hildebrand's hand away and demanded that he stop touching her.
Hildebrand ignored her demand and again pushed his hand between Campos' legs and up her crotch. Campos again firmly demanded him not to touch her. With his hand still on her crotch he slurred out "I am not touching you." Campos again forced his hand away.
Hildebrand shoved his hand into her crotch a third time, this time even more forcefully than before. Campos bolted from her seat and rushed to the rear of the aircraft to notify United's flight attendants.
Campos notified United's flight attendants of the sexual assault and harassment she had just suffered in her seat, that she feared she would be attacked again, and did not feel safe sitting next to Hildebrand.
Campos pleaded with United's flight attendants to find her a new seat and to check on the young woman who was still sitting next to Hildebrand.
United's flight attendants, now aware that Hildebrand had sexually assaulted Campos, ignored her terrified pleas and directed her to return to her seat next to Hildebrand.
Hildebrand repeatedly assaulted Campos throughout the flight and United flight attendants did nothing to stop him. (Please read the attached lawsuit for details.)
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Page Updated Last on: Nov 20, 2018