Dr. David Dao was one of four passengers on a United Airlines flight that was recently forced to give up his seat for UA employees. The airline claims that the flight was overbooked and it needed four passengers to give up seats for employees that needed to be at the plane’s destination for work.
After Dr. Dao boarded, while in his seat, he was asked to exit the plane. When he refused, stating that he had patients to see the next day, police were called, and he was forcibly removed from his seat, and literally dragged down the plane’s aisle and off the plane. The incident was captured by cell phone video by a few passengers, who posted the videos to social media.
United Airlines has been embroiled in a public relations nightmare as a result of their corporate policies that resulted in Dr. Dao being battered and physically dragged off a flight while bleeding. The airline quickly attempted to defend their actions. However, the social media backlash seemingly caused the airline to do a 180, issuing an apology and a statement asserting that police will never be used again to remove a passenger from an overbooked flight.
Despite the public apology and claims of corrective action, Dr. Dao has retained attorneys to potentially pursue legal claims.
Although the intensity of the online backlash has subsided slightly, the passenger has retained an attorney. In addition to potential claims for injury against the airline, there are potentially claims against the police department and officer for excessive force.
Furthermore, in the aftermath of the incident, many media sources started researching Dr. Dao’s background. However, many media outlets failed to fact check properly, and published information about the wrong Dr. Dao (Dao is a common Vietnamese name) and claimed that the UA victim was an ex-con and dirty doctor.
As a result of these erroneously published articles, Dr. Dao may have strong claims for defamation against the media outlets that failed to check their sources. Particularly as the media outlets didn’t even bother to research the two doctors’ full names because they both have two middle names, which are both different.
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