Pissy US Airways Pilot Plans to Continue Fight Against Flight Attendants
By Sarah Fenske in NewsThursday, Jul. 23 2009 @ 12:05PM
Victor J. Palagano
Flight attendants Paula Walker, Brian Shunick, and Sue Burris
Four months after a Superior Court judge unceremoniously tossed a libel suit filed by an unhappy U.S. Airways pilot, we've gotten word that the pilot, Ed Gannon, will be appealing the decision.
Can't this guy take a hint already?
As we first reported in January, Gannon sued three of his company's own flight attendants after they complained to federal authorities about his handling of a potentially dangerous situation. The flight attendants saw icy buildup on the wings of a plane about to depart Calgary for Phoenix, but they had to pester the pilots into taking action.
Naturally, the flight attendants were troubled by the pilots' initial resistance. (Icy wings can be deadly.) Upon landing in Phoenix, they let US Airways know about the incident -- and the company asked them to contact the FAA.
It's their statements to the FAA, though, that formed the basis for a three-year nightmare. After the FAA decided not to take action against Gannon, he sued the flight attendants for libel, demanding $2 million. And, unbelievably, the company has refused to pay the flight attendants' legal bills.
Thanks to the work of the flight attendants' ace lawyers, Michael Pearson and Daniel Riley at Curry Pearson & Wooten, Judge Louis Araneta dismissed the pilot's lawsuit in March. The fiesty Gannon then attempted to get another judge to reverse Araneta. That failed (duh!), but flight attendant Paula Walker tells New Times that Gannon has announced plans for an appeal.
We've seen first hand how litigious this pilot is -- after our first column about the lawsuit, he actually attempted to use the courts to force us to turn over our notes. That attempt, thankfully, was rendered moot by Judge Araneta's dismissal.
The flight attendants -- Paula Walker, Sue Burris, and Brian Shunick -- have lived under the cloud of this lawsuit for years, and it looks like their battle will be continuing to the appellate level. Sigh.
To donate to their defense fund, please check out their blog here. As Walker notes, they don't update the blog much -- but the issue is still current, and they could definitely still use some help.