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Pilot’s Rampage Didn’t Worry Etihad, Man Says

CHICAGO (CN) - Etihad Airways spirited one of its pilots out of the United States so that he would not face charges for a drunken attack, the co-worker he injured says in Federal Court.

Martyn Baylay, a resident of the United Kingdom, filed the lawsuit on Friday against the United Arab Emirates airline; his co-worker Saravdeep Mann, and the Chicago businesses that he says gave Mann too much to drink on the day of the altercation.

The trouble began on Oct. 13 or Oct. 14, 2013, when Baylay, Mann and two other members of the Etihad flight crew were on a layover in the Windy City.

Mann had already started drinking before the quartet settled in for drinks at their hotel. At the Westin Michigan Avenue Chicago for just 30 minutes, Mann proceeded to drink a "significant amount" of alcohol, according to the complaint.

At Dublin Bar and Grill, Mann drank "a lot more" and began making anti-British and anti-American comments, says Baylay, who believes that Mann lives either in India or Abu Dhabi.

At one point, Mann put his hands around Baylay's throat and "stared at him menacingly," the complaint states.

The other pilots had to cover Mann's tab that night, and Baylay agreed to hold on to the coat Man left behind, according to the complaint.

Mann allegedly showed up at Baylay's hotel room at midnight, and Baylay says he opened the door under the impression that Mann had come to apologize and get his jacket.

Instead, Mann hit Baylay on the head with a bronze-bladed ornament, according to the complaint.

Baylay claims that he fell to the floor, and that Mann then hit him on his leg. When Mann lunged at his head again, Baylay grabbed the weapon, according to the complaint.

He says he escaped to the lobby after Mann told him, "I'm going to kill you. You f*cking British bastard." (Redaction in original.)

Claiming that he underwent treatment at a nearby hospital for a head injury and scalp laceration, Baylay says Mann had "gone on a drunken rampage earlier that evening" and was confronted twice by a hotel security official.

Mann was ultimately arrested and charged with battery, the lawsuit says.

Etihad meanwhile crafted a plan to get its pilots out of the U.S. Baylay says Etihad reconfigured its flight schedule and pilot configuration, and that Mann in turn missed his court date and violated his bail bond.

The lawsuit states that Mann's father-in-law is a senior Etihad instructor, and his friend is its vice-president of training and standards.

Although the airline asked Mann to resign as a direct employee, he is now a pilot at Jet Airways (India), of which Etihad is a partner and 24 percent minority equity stake owner, according to the complaint. Jet Airways is not named as a defendant in the complaint.

Baylay says the 44-year-old Mann is also "an avid participant in weapon contest [sic] involving guns."

Etihad employed Mann despite knowing his history of violence and alcohol problems, according to the complaint.

Baylay goes on to evoke this year's March 24 crash of a Germanwings plane in the French Alps, a disaster investigators have pinned on homicidal pilot Andreas Lubitz.

"At a time both pre-dating and post-dating the tragedy of Germanwings' mishandling of its pilot, Andreas Lubitz, Etihad and, now, Jet Airways appear to be ignoring warning signs about Mann's fitness to fly passenger jetliners," the complaint states.

Baylay says that Etihad should have investigated, discharged or reassigned Mann, and is partly responsible for his assault. He claims the airline also ratified Mann's actions by helping him leave the country despite his criminal charges.

In addition to Etihad, Mann, and the Dublin Bar and Grill, Baylay names as defendants the owners of the hotel, LaSalle Hotel Properties and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

Baylay seeks damages for negligence, personal injury and dram shop liability.

He is represented by Craig M. Sandberg with Muslin & Sandberg.

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