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FILE PHOTO: Thomas A. Demetrio, Chicago Aviation Attorney and Co-founder of Corboy & Demetrio who represents Dao family, speaks during a news conference at Union League Club in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski(reuters_tickers)
By Alana Wise
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The lawyer representing Dr. David Dao, who was dragged from a United Airlines plane, said he will also represent a woman whose clash with an American Airlines flight attendant went viral over the weekend.
Thomas Demetrio told CNBC on Monday that he will represent both passengers whose recent confrontations with airline and airport employees sparked global outrage and prompted a nationwide conversation over U.S. carriers' treatment of passengers.
"Her tale is compelling. The video is a microcosm of what's wrong with the airline industry today," Demetrio said in an interview with CNBC.
In a video posted on Facebook on Friday by a bystander aboard the American Airlines flight, the woman is seen in tears and holding a young child after a male flight attendant had apparently wrested a baby stroller from her.
Demetrio said the woman from that incident, which happened before takeoff on Flight 591 from San Francisco to Dallas, had reached out to seek his counsel.
American Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott said on Monday that the carrier had been direct contact with the woman throughout the weekend.
Facebook user Surain Adyanthaya, who posted the video, wrote that the flight attendant had forcefully taken the stroller, hitting the woman with it and just missing her child. That sequence of events did not appear on the clip.
The video showed an unidentified man standing and yelling at the flight attendant: "You do that to me and I'll knock you flat." The crew member then points his finger and challenges the passenger to hit him and the man eventually returns to his seat.
American Airlines suspended the flight attendant and apologised to the woman and her family. The carrier said on Saturday that it was investigating the incident.
This was the second high-profile incident in less than a month involving a physical escalation of conflict between airlines employees and passengers.
Two weeks ago, 69-year-old Dao was dragged from his seat aboard United Flight 3411 before takeoff by airport security to make room for employees.
Demetrio said in the CNBC interview a settlement had not yet been discussed with United over the incident in which Dao lost two front teeth, broke his nose and suffered a concussion.
(Reporting by Alana Wise, Timothy Mclaughlin and Barbara Goldberg)