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Southwest Airlines Flight 1705 Passengers File Petition Against the Airline to Preserve Evidence of Onboard Exposure to Contaminated Air Causing Them Serious Health Problems

Dépèche transmise le 28 avril 2009 par Business Wire

Southwest Airlines Flight 1705 Passengers File Petition Against the Airline to Preserve Evidence of Onboard Exposure to Contaminated Air Causing Them Serious Health Problems

Southwest Airlines Flight 1705 Passengers File Petition Against the Airline to Preserve Evidence of Onboard Exposure to Contaminated Air Causing Them Serious Health Problems

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Twin sisters Victoria Vaughn Holsted and Valerie Vaughn filed a Petition for Preservation of Evidence in Los Angeles Superior Court today against Southwest Airlines [NYSE: LUV]. They claim that exposure to contaminated air while passengers onboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1705 from Los Angeles, CA to Nashville, TN on January 27, 2009 has caused them to suffer serious and debilitating health problems, among them motor skill deficiencies, loss of balance, vision impairment and uncontrollable tremors. The plane in question was a Boeing 737-300 jet aircraft and the itinerary for Flight 1705 also included stops in Birmingham, AL and Baltimore, MD. Despite repeated requests, Southwest Airlines gave Victoria and Valerie the runaround when they called the airline with questions as to what they were exposed to on Flight 1705 so that their doctors would know how to best treat them, and calls to the Federal Aviation Administration offered no pertinent information, compelling them to file this Petition. Victoria Vaughn Holsted and Valerie Vaughn, Petitioners, vs. Southwest Airlines Co., Expected Adverse Party, Case No. BS120400.

The Petition will be heard by the Hon. Rolf Treu, and oral arguments are expected to take place on May 25, 2009. Ms. Holsted and Ms. Vaughn are represented by Christine D. Spagnoli and Robert D. Jarchi with the Los Angeles, CA law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler (www.greene-broillet.com), Alisa R. Brodkowitz with the Seattle, WA law firm of Brodkowitz Law (www.brodkowitzlaw.com) and Michael Withey with the Seattle, WA Law Offices of Michael Withey (www.witheylaw.com).

A telephone press conference will be held to discuss the incident regarding Southwest Airlines Flight 1705 and the information requested in the Petition will be held on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 10:00 AM, Pacific Daylight Time; 11:00 AM Central Daylight Time; and 1:00 PM, Eastern Daylight Time. The toll-free number to access the press conference is (877) 322-9648; code 525327. Participating in the press conference will be Victoria Vaughn Halstead and Valerie Vaughn, and their attorneys Christine D. Spagnoli, Robert D. Jarchi, Alisa R. Brodkowitz and Michael Withey.

On January 27, 2009, Victoria and Valerie boarded Southwest Airlines Flight 1705, which departed at approximately 10:00 AM from Los Angeles International Airport with stops scheduled for Nashville International Airport in Nashville, TN, then Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, AL and finally Baltimore/Washington International Airport in Baltimore, MD. About one-hour into the flight they, along with the other passengers, began to experience hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), among other problems. Once alerted to the air quality problem in the cabin, the pilot then engaged the engines at full thrust and entered a steep ascent. As this occurred, super heated air began to surge out of the ventilation system and onto the passengers. Also present was the appearance of a mist.

The pilot announced to the passengers that there had been a malfunction, and Flight 1705 made an emergency landing in Albuquerque, NM. A Fire Marshall boarded the plane and advised the passengers to exit the aircraft. The sisters and other passengers then took another flight that went on to Nashville, TN and then to Birmingham, AL.

During and after Southwest Airlines Flight 1705, both Victoria and Valerie experienced such symptoms as extreme pressure in their heads, nasal passages and ears, which did not go away. These symptoms were followed by other serious physical and mental ailments, including tremors, memory loss, motor skill deficiencies, blurred vision, numbness and tingling in their extremities, among others.

Since Southwest Airlines Flight 1705, twin sisters Victoria or Valerie, age 45, have been forced to take extended leave from work due to their various symptoms. Victoria Vaughn Holsted, a resident of Franklin, TN, is a real estate executive with MedManagement, Inc. She is also a widow and, since Flight 1705, her work on a project with other young widows to publish a book on coping with the death of a spouse has been stalled. Her sister, Valerie Vaughn, a resident of Birmingham, AL, is a PGA Professional and is the Director of Golf at the Eagle Point Golf Club in that city.

“Victoria and I filed this Petition to see to it that Southwest Airlines does right not only by us, but by all the other passengers and crew members who were exposed to contaminated air and whose health status has been compromised,” stated Valerie Vaughn. We are frightened because we know something bad happened to us on Southwest Airlines Flight 1705, but we don’t know the specific details which has made it all that more difficult for our doctors to treat us. It’s high time we found out - the sooner, the better.”

Added Victoria Vaughn Holsted: “We are genuinely worried that other passengers on Flight 1705 may be even worse off than we are and that their doctors, just like ours, are struggling to find the right medical treatment. But, unless Southwest Airlines comes forward that will most likely never happen. The flying public deserves better than that, and so does the flight crew. We can only hope and pray that Southwest Airlines will take our Petition seriously and respond to us as a responsible corporate citizen and not one that puts profits above public safety.”

“Through their petition, Victoria and Valerie seek to preserve and obtain information that is vital to their medical treatment,” stated Christine D. Spagnoli. “At the present time, they are in the dark as to the nature of the substances which contaminated the air in the passenger cabin of Flight 1705, the nature and duration of their exposure, or the cause of such exposure or release of contaminated air. It is unconscionable that Southwest Airlines tried to sidestep its responsibility to its customers, and we will stand behind our clients to see that justice is served.”

Editor’s Note #1

Petitioners Victoria Vaughn Holsted and Valerie Vaughn are represented by Christine D. Spagnoli and Robert D. Jarchi with the Los Angeles, CA law firm of Greene Broillet & Wheeler, Tel: 310-576-1200, Alisa R. Brodkowitz with the Seattle, WA law firm of Brodkowitz Law, Tel: 206-833-7531; and Michael Withey with the Seattle, WA Law Offices of Michael Withey; Tel: 206-405-1800.

Expected Adverse Party, Southwest Airlines, Co. is based in Dallas, TX and is represented by Vice President - General Counsel, Madeleine Johnson; Tel: 214-792-4000.

Editor’s Note #2

Photographs of the Petitioners are available upon request by emailing Kathy Pinckert at Kpinckert@greene-broillet.com

Business Wire

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