A group of travelers aboard Alaska Airlines Flight 2059 has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Seattle-based airline and Horizon Air, claiming the carrier failed to exercise due diligence to protect passengers.
More legal trouble could arise against Alaska Airlines if a group of travelers manages to fight its way through court.
In a statement, a group of passengers represented by The Stritmatter Company who were on board Alaska Airlines Flight 2059 announced a lawsuit against the carrier and Horizon Air, demanding a public explanation of how the situation occurred in the first place.
Lawyers demand ‘public explanations’ and preventive actions against future incidents
Although attorneys say the suit was filed in Superior Court in King County, Washington — where Alaska Airlines is headquartered — the complaint has not yet been posted on the court’s website. In the 30-page complaint, lawyers ask the court for a public explanation.
The incident on board Alaska Airlines Flight 2059, operated by Horizon Air, occurred on October 22, 2023, when Joseph Emerson, a pilot on leave in Alaska, allegedly attempted to shut down the engines of a Horizon Air Embraer 175 airframe in mid-flight. According to a airline statementpower was not interrupted and the pilots were able to subdue the pilot and divert the flight to Portland International Airport (PDX).
Lawyers representing the passenger group say they are asking the airline “to demand a frank public explanation from the airlines involved as to why they failed to implement a rigorous pre-flight security check.” Information presented after the incident accused Emerson of suffering from depression for months and of having taken drugs before the robbery.
A statement from Alaska says that prior to boarding, Emerson showed no signs of drug intoxication and gate agents at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) were able to successfully confirm his identity and authorization to fly in the cockpit booster seat.
“At no time during the check-in or boarding process did our gate agents or flight crew observe any signs of impaired capabilities that would have led them to prevent Emerson from flying Flight 2059 ” the Alaska press release said.
However, the lawyers accuse Alaska and Horizon of providing an explanation for “any effort that it took shortly before Emerson came on board to question or otherwise examine him on any conditions that l “would prevent you from being in the cockpit at that time or from flying the aircraft in an emergency.” .” As part of their legal action, the lawyers are demanding not only full transparency, but also information on how they intend to prevent future incidents.
“Airlines can and should take simple and reasonable steps before each flight to challenge the presumption that every pilot who arrives at the gate is rested, sober and in the right state of mind to fly,” he said. said Daniel Laurence, aviation lawyer at Stritmatter. said in a statement. “Emerson’s statements while in the air and shortly after his arrest show that if the airlines here had done so, he would never have been allowed to board.”
The suit also seeks monetary compensation, including tickets and fees, fees for treatment of health conditions and damages for psychological injuries, among other things. Alaska Airlines has not commented on the pending litigation.
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