(CN) – The widow of a Missouri man claims in court that her disabled husband suffered fatal injuries during a Southwest Airlines flight due to the employees’ failure to properly secure him in his seat.
In a complaint filed in Broward County, Florida on July 26, plaintiff Thelma Dreyer says her husband Eugene Dreyer was a successful stockbroker and financial advisor in Kansas City, but he suffered from post-polio syndrome and needed to use a wheelchair.
Dreyer claims that on February 21 they traveled with her husband’s assistant, Rondy Wright, from Kansas City to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on a Southwest Airlines flight.
According to the complaint, Eugene was wheeled onto the airplane by employees and he was moved into a front-row seat. Wright and Dreyer were assigned the seats across the aisle from him.
“While assisting Mr. Dreyer into his seat, the flight crew decided that an extension of the seat belt was necessary and one of the flight attendants obtained one for Mr. Dreyer,” the complaint says.
Dreyer alleges that the flight attendant buckled her husband to his seat using the extension prior to take off.
However, when the plane was decelerating upon landing in Fort Lauderdale the seat belt failed to restrain Eugene causing him to hit the bulkhead wall and land on the floor.
Dreyer says that the airlines’ flight crew failed to immediately assist her husband, and Wright had to place him back in his seat while the plane continued to taxi to the gate.
She says that due to the fall her husband suffered severe injuries to his head, leg, foot, shoulder and other parts of his body, and he lost his cognitive functions.
He died of those injuries on April 23, the complaint says.
Dreyer is seeking compensatory damages on claims of negligence.
She is represented by Richard Lombardo from Shaffer Lombardo Shurin in Kansas City.
Lisa Tiller, a spokeswoman for Southwest, said the airline does not comment on pending litigation.