Southwest Airlines gets stung in civil case
My Arizona bar journal just arrived, with a story about the largest verdicts of 2006. The fourth largest was $9 million against Southwest Air. Apparently a pair of bail bonds recovery agents wanted to board a plane while carrying, and were approved to do so. They identified themselves as working for H&D Enterprises, but the Southwest Air people read that as the government department HUD when they okayed it.
The article isn't clear as to what happened next: it says before landing the pilot radioed that they did not have clearance (I wonder if it means that they radioed the pilot). After landing, they were arrested (although it should have been obvious by then that they weren't up to anything improper) and jailed for three days. I guess the jury didn't like what happened. I suspect there's a lot more to the story -- three days in jail doesn't normally equal a million in actuals and four million in punitives (on the latter, AZ law requires proof of "an evil mind.") If I were to guess, the airline probably tried to cover up, which may have led to their being jailed and/or held for three days instead of being quickly released. Something like that might have gotten the jury hacked, and met the legal standard.