The family of a 14-year-old girl who was allegedly recorded by a flight attendant’s cellphone while using the restroom has sued American Airlines in federal court.
The parents of the teenager, who are remaining anonymous, filed the lawsuit against American Airlines on Friday after a flight attendant allegedly taped a cellphone on the first-class bathroom toilet seat before their daughter went to use the restroom during a Sept. 2 flight from Charlotte, North Carolina to Boston Logan International Airport in Massachusetts.
According to the lawsuit filed in a North Carolina federal court, the girl was waiting to use an economy-class restroom when a male flight attendant approached her and said she could use the first-class bathroom, saying “it would be faster.”
When the teen approached the bathroom, the flight attendant went inside first, stating that he needed to wash his hands before the crew began to pick up trash.
After one minute, the flight attendant said, “The toilet seat in there is broken. But don’t worry about it. We’re going to get it fixed when we get back to Charlotte,” according to the lawsuit.
When the girl finished using the restroom, she noticed that there was a cellphone with its camera flash turned on that was located under red tape that read “SEAT BROKEN.”
The male flight attendant was outside the restroom when she left, the lawsuit states, adding that he immediately went back into the restroom and closed the door.
Once the teenage girl was back in her seat, she showed her mother a picture of the cellphone underneath the tape. The mother then “rushed” to the front of the plane in order to warn other passengers, and stopped a female who was about to enter the same first-class restroom.
When the mother entered the first-class restroom, the phone and tape were both gone.
The mother told a female first-class flight attendant what happened to her daughter, who responded, “This is very serious. I will have to tell the pilot about this.”
Afterward, the girl’s father located the male flight attendant talking with other crew members, asking, “What the hell just happened in the first-class bathroom with my daughter?”
“Look at this picture. Someone was filming my daughter in the first-class bathroom,” the father asked the group, before turning to the male flight attendant.
“You told her to go in there. I want to see your phone,” he asked the male flight attendant, the lawsuit states, who responds, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have nothing to do with this.”
The male flight attendant was later seen in the front of the plane “tapping furiously on his phone,” before showing the father his camera roll, which didn’t have any pictures from the bathroom, according to the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, the flight crew never seized the male attendant’s cellphone for the duration of the flight.
Law enforcement officers removed the male flight attendant from the plane when it landed, but charges haven’t yet been filed, and he hasn’t been arrested.
According to the lawsuit, an FBI agent informed the family that the flight attendant wasn’t arrested because “no incriminating photo or video” was found on the phone when it was initially searched on the plane. The family hasn’t received any updates from law enforcement.
The FBI declined to comment when asked about the lawsuit by Fox News Digital.
According to the lawsuit, the teenage girl now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, insomnia, and goes to therapy. She also has trouble focusing on schoolwork.
“She is also extremely anxious about the fact the male flight attendant had access to his phone for an entire hour after the incident and may have distributed any photograph or video of her to other people or uploaded it on the internet,” the lawsuit states. “Furthermore, because the male flight attendant was not promptly arrested, due to American Airlines’ failures in that regard, Plaintiff is persistently fearful of him.”
As of Dec. 1, attorneys for the family told Fox News Digital that American Airlines hadn’t reached out to them.
“The incident happened about three months ago now, and during that time, no one from American Airlines has bothered to reach out to contact us, to contact the family, to find out how the girl is doing. They issue these boilerplate statements saying they take the matter very seriously. Well, their actions, or rather inaction, strongly suggests otherwise,” said the family’s attorney, Paul Llewellyn, of Lewis & Llewellyn LLP. “So we felt we were left with no choice but to bring this lawsuit to hold American and the flight attendant accountable for what happened.”
A spokesperson for American Airlines told Fox News Digital the flight attendant “was immediately withheld from service and hasn’t worked since.”
“We take this matter very seriously and have been fully cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation, as safety and security are our highest priorities,” the spokesperson said.