A recently-filed lawsuit alleges that an off-duty Delta Air Lines employee sexually assaulted another passenger, prompting the flight attendant’s colleagues to attempt a cover-up.
According to The Kansas City Star, the plaintiff—a middle-aged Minnesota woman—claims that she was flying home from Las Vegas when she seated next to or near Abigal Louise Trebnick-Emerson.
Trebnick-Emerson, notes the Star, boarded the plane with a Delta “crew” bag, but was not assigned to work on the flight.
After take-off, both passengers were served drinks—including alcohol—and “engaged in small talk.” However, after having several cans of wine, Trebnick-Emerson purportedly tried kissing the woman next to her, before leaning her head on the shoulder of another man sitting in another seat.
The unidentified plaintiff claims that she reported Trebnick-Emerson to a flight attendant, remarking on her apparent “level of intoxication.”
However, the same flight attendant continued serving Trebnick-Emerson drinks, including a fifth can of wine.
Upon landing, the plaintiff stood up to retrieve her baggage from an overhead compartment when Trebnick-Emerson attempted to “rub” the plaintiff’s “buttocks.”
“She groped my butt,” the woman told KARE-11 News in an interview. “I turned to her and said, ‘We are not doing that!’”
While Trebnick-Emerson was charged in Hennepin County, Minnesota, she was never convicted of any crime. Now, the plaintiff is suing Delta Air Lines, alleging that other flight attendants and staff conspired to shield their colleague from the consequences of her misconduct.
The lawsuit, writes the Kansas City Star, includes screenshots of apparent Facebook Messenger exchanges between Trebnick-Emerson and a flight attendant.
“I don’t know what happened. We had a nice conversation on the airplane. Do you know what she said??” Trebnick-Emerson allegedly wrote.
“You kissed her,” the flight attendant responded. “I know she came to the back told one [flight attendant], but she didn’t appear to be ‘upset!’”
When Trebnick-Emerson asked whether she had actually tried kissing the woman, the Delta employee wrote, “yeah, you were pretty bombed.”
This flight attendant, as well as others, are accused of both serving Trebnick-Emerson canned wine and conspiring to protect her “by providing Delta ACS investigators with false and inaccurate information about the events of the flight that led to and resulted in Trebnick-Emerson’s assault.”
The plaintiff is seeking a trial by jury and at least $375,000 in damages.
A spokesperson for Delta said that, while the company cannot comment on pending litigation, it takes a zero-tolerance approach toward employee misconduct.
“While we don’t have any specific comment on this pending litigation, Delta does not tolerate inappropriate or unlawful behavior,” Delta said in a statement. “Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and our people.”