Houston Based Law Firm Roberts Markland, LLP Wins $3,800,000.00 Verdict For Disabled Passenger Who Was Dropped And Injured On A United Airlines Flight

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United Airlines Passenger Erica Fulton Ecstatic To End Her Long Journey To Justice

I bought a first-class ticket to be comfortable on my flight. Instead, as a result of the actions of the United Airlines contract workers, both during and after I was dropped. This was the truly the flight from hell.

On January 22, 2019, a federal jury serving the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas unanimously ordered United Airlines and its contractor AirServ to pay $3,800,000.00 to disabled passenger Erica Fulton of St. Petersburg, FL, who was dropped by airline employees as they transferred her from her chair into her first class seat.

Fulton, who is represented by Houston attorneys Sean Roberts, Jonathan C.C. Day, and Anjali Sharma of Roberts Markland LLP, was diagnosed in 2012 with a degenerative spinal disease that requires her to use a wheelchair for mobility.

While boarding her flight on a layover at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, en route to visit her son in Austin for his 30th birthday, Fulton was dropped on her right shoulder and injured.

In addition, Fulton’s customized motorized wheelchair was also dropped and damaged by baggage claims on the same flight. “I bought a first-class ticket to be comfortable on my flight. Instead, as a result of the actions of the United Airlines contract workers, both during and after I was dropped, this was the truly the flight from hell,” stated Fulton. “I am happy the jury saw through United’s attempts to pretend this never happened.”

According to court documents, although Fulton reported her claims immediately, United neglected her complaints of bodily injury. In addition, United did not produce the injury report or the name of the person who boarded the United flight to attempt the transfer of Fulton to her seat. “United gave me the run around for over six weeks and that is when I decided I needed legal representation to sort through the corporate games,” said Fulton. That’s when she turned to Roberts Markland LLP.

Sean Roberts, lead counsel for Fulton, said, “United has a problem accepting responsibility when it has done wrong. In this case, they chose to use their resources on expensive lawyers and expert witnesses to tell a story that Ms. Fulton fabricated the episode, but their plan unraveled in front of an attentive jury.” In closing, he told the jury, “You don’t wake up every morning and have a chance to make a change. Today, you do.”

While Fulton quickly reported her injury to the flight attendant on the flight and to a United Claims Resolution Officer immediately after exiting the flight, United Airlines own witnesses admitted under oath that no incident report was ever prepared. In addition, co-defendants AirServ could not produce the name of the two people who took Fulton on the plane. Last, no flight attendants testified at the trial, causing Fulton to feel as if nothing had ever happened.

Counsel for Fulton, Jonathan C.C. Day, believes the jury was concerned about all disabled passengers, “We all worked so hard, and Ms. Fulton suffered so much, to make sure that disabled passengers are safe,” stated Jonathan C. C. Day. “When passengers are injured, the problem must be documented and fixed immediately.”

Fulton’s physical injuries, a rotator cuff tear and detached biceps muscle, required extensive medical treatment including surgery and 24-hour home care while Fulton recovered from surgery. The loss of her right arm was extremely challenging since she is disabled. Jurors were also told by Fulton’s surgeon that she will probably need an additional surgery in the future.

In their unanimous verdict, jurors awarded Fulton $2,000,000.00 in past physical pain and mental anguish and $1,000,000.00 in future physical pain and mental anguish, along with Ms. Fulton’s past and future medical expenses. They also compensated Fulton $800,000.00 for physical disfigurement and physical impairment resulting from the incident. (Fulton v. United Airlines Inc, Case 4:2017cv00528)

Counsel for Fulton, Anjali Sharma, said, “The jury wanted to make sure United Airlines felt Erica Fulton’s pain. They sent a clear message to all airlines with this verdict.”

United Airlines is the 4th largest airline carrier in the world, flying more than 500,000 passengers daily.

About Roberts Markland, LLP
Roberts Markland LLP, is a Houston based trial law firm specializing in representing plaintiffs catastrophically injured by the negligence or recklessness of others. Led by attorneys Sean Roberts and Clive Markland, the firm’s reputation has been earned through extensive trial and appellate experience in proudly representing hundreds of clients. For more information, please contact Roberts Markland LLP at 713.630.0900 or visit our website at http://www.robertsmarkland.com.

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Julie O. Griffith
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