A lawsuit was recently filed against Delta Air Lines after a man was mauled by another passenger’s emotional support dog.
Delta Air Lines is at the center of a new negligence lawsuit filed by a man who claims he was mauled by an emotional support dog while on a flight from Atlanta to San Diego. The owner of the emotional support dog is also named in the suit. According to the suit, which was filed in Fulton County state court, Marlin Jackson was sitting next to the window in a Delta Air Lines plane when a “dog sitting in the lap of the passenger next to him suddenly attacked his face and pinned him against the window of the plane.”
The attack occurred back in June 2017 and quickly garnered national attention. Additionally, the attack spurred Delta to implement a variety of changes to airline policies regarding service and emotional support animals.
What are the details of the attack, though? How long did it last? Well, according to the suit, the attack happened when Jackson was fastening his seat belt. While he was doing so, the “animal began to growl” and then attacked, biting Jackson several times. Soon after, the dog was pulled away, but it quickly broke free and began attacking Jackson’s face again.
According to the suit, the attack left Johnson bleeding so profusely that the “entire row of seats had to be removed from the airplane.” Of his many injuries, he suffered “lacerations and punctures to his face and upper body requiring 28 stitches and medical treatment.” To make matters worse, the suit alleges the attack left Jackson with “permanent injury and loss of sensation in areas of his face, severe physical pain and suffering, emotional distress and mental anguish, loss of income or earning potential, and substantial medical bills.” As a result of his ordeal, the suit states Jackson’s “entire lifestyle has been severely impaired by this attack.”
The lawsuit further alleges that Delta failed to verify whether the dog had any behavioral training, such as “requiring signed documentation showing the animal is trained and can behave in the airplane setting.” The suit states:
“The harm of large, untrained and unrestrained animals in the cabin of an airplane was reasonably foreseeable to Delta or should have been…Delta knew or should have known that subjecting passengers and animals to close physical interaction in the confined, cramped and anxious quarters of the cabin, presented a reasonably foreseeable harm.”
Only after the attack did Delta begin implementing changes on its policies for emotional support animals. For example, it began requiring a “confirmation of animal training form and other documents and banned pit bulls as service or support animals.” In a statement regarding the matter, Delta said it “continuously reviews and enhances its policies and procedures for animals onboard as part of its commitment to health, safety and protecting the rights of customers with disabilities.”
The owner of the dog that attacked Jackson is Ronald Kevin Mundy Jr. According to police reports, Mundy is a member of the U.S. Marine Corps and was traveling with the dog for support. In the police report, the dog is listed as a “chocolate lab pointer mix.” Prior to the attack, he was sitting in the middle seat of Row 31 with his dog on his lap. However, “the animal was so large it encroached into the aisle seat and window seat,” the suit alleges. In addition, the suit argues that Mundy “knew or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that his large animal was foreseeably dangerous, especially when confined to the cramped and anxious quarters of the passenger cabin of an airplane.”
Jackson’s suit is seeking damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical expenses, among others.