An attorney representing David Dao, the United Airlines passenger whose forcible removal from a flight went viral this week, said Dao suffered a “significant” concussion, a broken nose and a sinus injury during the incident. He also lost two front teeth, and has been discharged from the hospital.
Crystal Dao Pepper, Dao’s daughter, said the family was “shocked and horrified” to learn what had happened. “What happened to my dad should never happen to any human being regardless of the circumstance,” Crystal Dao Pepper said during a news conference on Thursday.
Dao was involuntarily removed from a United Airlines flight to make room for the airline’s employees. Videos that have subsequently gone viral show law enforcement dragging him through the aisle of the plane. The incident has sparked outrage against United Airlines, which has apologized. But Thomas Demetrio, one of Dao’s attorneys, called the apology staged and indicated his client will likely sue.
“When we file our lawsuit it’s going to be because every word, every deposition is in that lawsuit fro a reason,” he said.
Dao Pepper spoke alongside her father’s attorneys, Thomas Demetrio and Stephen Golan, in Chicago. It was the first time since the incident that a member of the family spoke publicly in person. Earlier this week, Dao’s attorneys released a statement from the family noting the outpouring of support for Dr. Dao, but requesting privacy until his release from the hospital.
Dao’s attorneys, who filed an emergency request in Illinois State court Wednesday to preserve all evidence relating to the incident on the flight, indicated they will likely sue the airline. The only reason they haven’t yet sued, Demetri said, is because they are conducting “due diligence.”
“Will there be a lawsuit? Yes probably,” said Demetrio. “If you’re going to eject a passenger under no circumstances can it be done with unreasonable force, or violence. That s the law. If unreasonable force and violence is used under a set of circumstances, the common carrier, United Airlines is responsible.”
The hearing on preserving the evidence will take place Monday. Three officers from the Chicago Aviation Department have been placed on leave since the incident, and a review is ongoing. Demetrio said the city of Chicago bears responsibility for the incident as well. “Just because the city of united is responsible doesn’t mean the city of Chicago isn’t also responsible,” he said.
United reiterated their apology in a statement following the press conference, noting they are reviewing their policies, improving their training programs, and refraining from forced removals off airplanes unless they are necessary for security.