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Aer Lingus sues passenger over accident on flight

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Airline says it wasn’t to blame

Airline says it wasn’t to blame

Airline says it wasn’t to blame

Aer Lingus has sued a passenger, seeking an indemnity from him over an accident involving a bag of duty free alcohol which is alleged to have happened on a transatlantic flight.

The proceedings in a US court centre on claims the passenger was negligent in opening an overhead compartment during a flight to Dublin from Hartford, Connecticut, in May 2018.

The contents of a duty free bag containing bottles of alcohol are alleged to have fallen from the compartment, striking another passenger on the head.

The injured passenger, North Carolina resident Felicia Nelson, issued personal injury proceedings against the national flag carrier last May, alleging she had suffered a range of ailments, including vertigo and post-traumatic stress.

Trauma

Also among the injuries listed in her claim are head trauma, concussion, post-concussion syndrome, vision impairment, the aggravation of migraine headaches and a bump or dent in the side of her head.

Aer Lingus filed a defence to the action last month, saying it was contesting the case.

Among other things, it maintained that if an accident took place, it was not the fault of the airline.

But the proceedings, in the United States District Court in Connecticut, took a turn in recent weeks when Aer Lingus filed a "third-party complaint" against the passenger who had been in the seat in front of Ms Nelson.

In a legal filing, it has alleged this passenger, Connecticut resident Joseph Lorenzo, "negligently, recklessly, or intentionally" removed his baggage with such force that the duty free bag was dislodged and its contents fell on Ms Nelson's head. The filing said that at the time crew members were gathered in the galley preparing for cabin service.

It claimed that if Ms Nelson sustained the injuries she alleges, then this was due to the other passenger's negligence.

The airline maintains Mr Lorenzo should be liable to Aer Lingus for an indemnity in respect of any damages awarded to her.

Mr Lorenzo has yet to respond to the third-party complaint.