James Long, a security officer involved in the infamous dragging of Dr. David Dao off of a United Airlines flight in April 2017, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) and United Airlines. Long, who lost his job in August 2017 because of the incident, is claiming wrongful termination, negligence, and defamation.
Long, represented by attorney Anne Beckert, is also suing Commissioner of the CDA Ginger Evans “individually and as agent” of the CDA.
Long alleges that he followed his training during the incident with Dr. Dao, and that Evans’ negligence in his training is the reason he lost his job. He also alleges that she intentionally and maliciously defamed him in subsequent tweets.
According to the lawsuit, Evans tweeted “defamatory statements,” one saying Long is “not [a] LEO,” another that said his actions “were completely inappropriate” and another that said “[w]e do not arm security staff for good reasons.”
Long believes that the first tweet was false and was intended to harm him emotionally. He says the second was also intentionally harmful and meant to deter “third persons from associating with him.”
He said the third tweet was sent to harm him in the eyes of the law enforcement community.
“These false statements imply that Long was not acting in his capacity as a police officer, that his actions were ‘completely inappropriate’ and that he was not armed ‘for good reasons,'” the lawsuit says. “Defendant Evans’s acts, breaches and other harms to Long, further included, but are not limited to, publishing oral and written statements with a high degree of awareness of their falsity and containing deliberate and intentionally misleading omissions with the direct intention to harm [him].”
Both Evans and the CDA were blamed for firing Long for acting as he was trained.
Then there’s United Airlines.
Long alleges that United Airlines is at fault for failing to foresee the consequences of calling the Aviation Police Force to the scene. His complaint says that United “knew or should have known that calling the Aviation Police on April 9, 2017 to remove a passenger who was refusing to leave their plane would require the use of physical force.”
As a result of all of this, Long is seeking back pay, front pay, punitive damages, compensatory damages, legal fess and any additional damages a jury may decide.
The lawsuit states that Long has been unemployed since he was fired and has lost wages in excess of $50,000.
You can read Long’s complaint in full below.
Law&Crime reached out to Evans and United Airlines for comment. United Airlines said they have not been served with this lawsuit and are unable to comment. The CDA had no comment on the matter.