Airport assault leads to suit against American Airlines

Legal News Line Nov. 12, 2007, 5:53am

CHICAGO -- An American Airlines employee sued his employer last month in the Circuit Court of Cook County, over allegations that the airline willfully allowed two other employees to repeatedly assault the plaintiff over the course of two years. The plaintiff, Corey Lamprecht, states in his complaint that the harassment began in October 2005 with an alleged broomstick beating by an American Airlines employee who was named under a battery count in the complaint. The initial assault, according to the complaint, was allegedly followed by several other instances of physical and verbal harassment. The plaintiff alleges that he reported all incidents to the human resources department at American Airlines, as well as the Chicago Police Department to no effect. As a result, Lamprecht now seeks more than $100,000 under four counts alleged against American Airlines. Count I alleges that American Airlines provided a "hostile work environment" by allowing such incidents to occur without redress. Count II alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress on the part of the airline, for allegedly failing to protect the physical and emotional safety of the plaintiff or address the "extreme and outrageous" conduct by the other named defendants. Count III alleges willful and wanton retention of employees by the airline for its "reckless" hiring and retention of the employees that allegedly took part in the scheme against Lamprecht. Count IV, meanwhile, alleges negligent retention of employees by American Airlines for breaching its duty to provide a safe work environment for the plaintiff and others. Each count seeks more than $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from American Airlines, so as to "punish the Defendant American Airlines for the willful and malicious conduct necessary to deter Defendant American from enjoining such misconduct in the future." The plaintiff is represented by James T. Foley of the Chicago firm Hoey & Farina. The firm primarily handles plaintiffs' cases involving railroad injuries, construction injuries, work-related injuries, slip-and-falls, medical malpractice, and products liability. Foley has been with the firm since 1997. American Airlines is represented by Winston & Strawn, LLP, one of the most prominent business law firms in the nation, with headquarters in Chicago. The employees named as defendants have yet to file appearances with the court. The case is set to proceed before Judge Lynn M. Egan in the Circuit Court of Cook County's Law Division, with an initial hearing scheduled for Feb. 7, 2008.

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