United Airlines has reached a $30 million settlement with the family of a quadriplegic man who was left in a vegetative state after a deplaning incident. Per Reuters, the settlement reached with Nathaniel Foster Jr’s family was made public on Tuesday after a trial that lasted a day.
The February 2019 incident occurred as Foster, 26, and his family were deplaning from a United Express flight to Monroe, Louisiana. They had traveled to the city for a funeral. At the time, Foster was using a wheelchair, ventilator, and tracheal tube.
Foster’s family said he was “aggressively” and “forcefully” pushed by a ramp supervisor, resulting in him suffering the medical condition. The complaint also stated that Foster’s mother later tried to get help after she heard him say that he could not breathe. A gate attendant, however, “giggled” and informed a surgeon who wanted to help that “we got this.” Foster later suffered a cardiac arrest.
Court papers revealed the damage subsequently caused to Foster’s brain was “significant.” He’s also unable to talk or eat solid foods and likely die by the age of 31-1/2. Prior to the incident, Foster was expected to live to 39.
“Our top priority is to provide a safe journey for all our customers, especially those who require additional assistance or the use of a wheelchair,” United said in a statement after the settlement was reached. “We are pleased to share that this matter has settled.”