Attorney: Man dragged from United flight suffered concussion, broken nose

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CHICAGO — The man recorded on video being dragged off a United Airlines flight suffered a severe concussion and a broken nose, his attorney said.

Dr. David Dao, 69, also lost two front teeth. Attorney Thomas Demetrio said Dao was discharged from the hospital Wednesday night and didn’t remember much about the incident.

Demetrio is one of the lawyers representing Dao and his family after video of Dao’s removal from a flight Sunday night at O’Hare International Airport went viral. Dao refused to give up his seat to make room for crew members. The plane was full when United asked four passengers to volunteer to give their seats up. When no one volunteered, the airline randomly selected four passengers to leave, including Dao.

Dao didn’t want to leave the flight, which was bound for Louisville, because he had patients to attend to.

According to Demetrio, the experience for Dao was more terrifying and harrowing than when he left Vietnam in a boat during the fall of Saigon in 1975.

“I would defy anyone to suggest that there was no unreasonable force and violence used to help Dr. Dao disembark that plane,” Demetrio said.

Demetrio said Dao’s family accepted the public apology of United CEO Oscar Munoz, although he maintained that neither he nor the Dao family had heard personally from Munoz.

Dao’s daughter, Crystal Dao Pepper, said the family was “horrified, shocked and sickened” when they learned what happened to Dao on the plane. Seeing video of the incident, which was recorded by several other passengers, only exacerbated the feeling, she said.

Demetrio said a lawsuit was “likely” in the case. He told reporters the lawsuit hadn’t been filed yet because the firm was making sure it did its “due diligence” and had all the bases covered. The law firm took a step toward filing a lawsuit when it filed a motion asking that surveillance video from the airline be preserved.

Demetrio suggested that air travelers have “bullied” passengers for a long time and called upon corporate America to do better.

“Here what we want as a society: we want fairness in how people treat us. We want respect, and we want dignity,” Demetrio said.

The attorney said Dao now sees himself as “the guy” standing up for other passengers going forward.

Dao’s daughter said the family has received an outpouring of support from “all over the world.”

“My dad is a wonderful father. He has raised with my mother 5 great children who have gone on to do great things,” she said.

Demetrio said Dao was being held in a “secure location” and asked the media not to bother him. His client will need surgery at some point for injuries he suffered during the ordeal, Demetrio said.


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