American Airlines Blames 9 Year Old Filmed In Lavatory By Flight Attendant: She ‘Knew’ And It Was The Girl’s ‘Fault’
American Airlines Blames 9 Year Old Filmed In Lavatory By Flight Attendant: She ‘Knew’ And It Was The Girl’s ‘Fault’

View from the Wing

Back in September an American Airlines flight attendant was accused of filming a teen girl passenger in the lavatory using a hidden camera on a American’s flight 1441 from Charlotte to Boston.

The man first asked the teen girl to wait, went into the lavatory, and then directed her into the first class bathroom – where she noticed and took a photo of what’s apparently the flight attendant’s iPhone stuck to the toilet in the lavatory with maintenance stickers. According to the girl’s family, he went into the lavatory again once she’d left.

Credit: Lewis & Llewellyn LLP

It turns out this wasn’t the first or even second time he’d done this. According to the FBI, which searched the crewmember’s iCloud accont, he’d “recorded a minor using the bathroom on a plane” four times already in 2023 before he was caught, capturing children “7, 9, 11 and 14 years old” on video. The Bureau also reportedly found several hundred “AI-generated child pornography images.” He’s been charged with possession of child pornography and attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, and pled not guilty.

I’ve previously reported that American Airlines claims not to be “liable for acts or crimes of its employees” even when those occur during the course of their duties. They think the families should sue the flight attendant, because they are not responsible when the employees that they’ve selected, trained and put into a position of authority in the cabin abuse that position to create child pornography by filming young girls in the lavatory.

However American is now also blaming the 9-year old for what happened to her in its response to a lawsuit.

The airline in a new court filing is arguing that the young girl should have known that the airplane toilet contained a recording device.

“Defendant would show that any injuries or illnesses alleged to have been sustained by Plaintiff, Mary Doe, were proximately caused by Plaintiff’s own fault and negligence,” American Airlines’ lawyers wrote in their defense filing.

The airline’s attorneys added about the 9-year-old girl using “the compromised lavatory” on the plane: “She knew or should have known contained a visible and illuminated recording device.”

According to American, it seems, any 9 year old victim of child pornography is really to blame because they should have known that the flight attendant American Airlines put there was recording them and did not speak up.

I genuinely do not know what to say, other than American Airlines is not being well-represented by its legal counsel.

  • A natural inclination of a lawyer is to make plenty of arguments, and do whatever they think it takes to win on the basis of law. Not all arguments work well, but if you don’t assert an argument you’re frequently not going to be able to make it in subsequent proceedings.

  • But a good lawyer is more commercially-savvy than that. They aren’t just looking to make arguments in court (no matter how bad or offensive). They are looking out for the business.

  • Some arguments – even good arguments – shouldn’t be made when they’ll hurt the client more than help them.

  • And sometimes a case should be settled even before forcing the plaintiff to survive summary judgment, even before grinding them down in depositions, and even if you think you have a reasonable chance of previaling on the merits.

A lawyer’s job is not just about the law, it’s about helping to guide a client to the best decision for their business given the legal stakes and broader stakes as well.

Gary Leff

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