Airtran Airways Is Awarded Over $280,000 In a Lawsuit Against Its Own Injured Employee as Reported by Link & Smith, P.C.

Share Article

Airtran Airways (owned by Southwest Airlines) has sued and recently obtained a judgment in excess of $280,000 against its longtime employee Brenda Elem, after she was severely injured in a car wreck, as reported by the law firm of Link & Smith, P.C. Airtran sued to recover medical expenses that it paid on behalf of Elem after she was injured in the car wreck.

According to court documents Ms. Elem began working in 2002 for Atlanta based Airtran Airways, a billion dollar airline which is owned by Southwest Airlines. While Ms. Elem worked for Airtran she paid health insurance premiums to Aetna through the airline’s employee benefit program. According to court documents in 2007, Elem was injured in a car wreck and suffered significant injuries for which Aetna paid $134,000 in related medical expenses. Airtran sued Ms. Elem to recover the full $134,000 paid by Aetna and now stands to collect over $280,000, nearly as much as the amount Elem received in her settlement with the driver that caused her injuries, according to court documents.

The judgment obtained against Elem stems from a March 2007 car wreck which occurred when Elem was driving her car in Marietta, Georgia, and another driver allegedly lost control of his vehicle and slammed into her. She was taken to an Atlanta hospital and treated for serious injuries as reflected in the court pleadings. According to court documentation Elem underwent years of medical treatment, numerous surgeries and lengthy physical therapy and she will never completely recover from her injuries. At the time of the wreck, Elem had worked for Airtran for many years and paid into the employee benefit program for her Aetna health insurance coverage. Elem turned to the law firm of Link & Smith, P.C. to file a lawsuit against the driver that caused the wreck (See Elem v. Rizo-Iglesias Case No. 07-SC-3106; State Court of Cherokee County Georgia). Eventually her case against the driver was settled.

After her settlement with the driver that slammed into her, Elem was then sued by her own employer, Airtran, to recover the full amount of her medical expenses that Aetna had already paid according to court documents. Elem disagreed with Airtran’s lawsuit and fought Airtran in Federal Court in Atlanta for two years. (See Airtran v. Elem, et. al. Civil Case Number 1:10cv3673ODE filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division).

According to court filings, Airtran’s lawyers racked up over $204,000 in fees to recover $134,000 of medical costs. "In this particular case Airtran spent over $204,000 to recover $134,000," said Link. Ultimately, Judge Orinda Evans ruled that Elem and her attorneys should pay Airtran $281,120.08, nearly as much as the amount Elem received in her lawsuit against the at-fault driver. (See judgment in court file 1:10cv3673ODE U.S.D.C., Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division).

“"Airtran now stands to collect more than twice of what was paid out for Elem’s medical bills," said Link.

Link & Smith, P.C

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Mark Link
Link & Smith, P.C.
(404) 315-8840
Email >