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JetBlue Sued by Passengers Over Pilot’s Behavior

JetBlue Airways Corp. was sued by 10 New York-area passengers over an incident on a flight to Las Vegas in March that resulted in a pilot’s arrest for erratic behavior.

The lawsuit, filed today in New York State Supreme Court in Queens, seeks compensatory and punitive damages from New York-based JetBlue and pilot Clayton Osbon for claims including assault, reckless infliction of emotional distress and negligent supervision, hiring and retention.

Osbon’s behavior while captain on the March 27 flight from New York caused his co-pilot to bar him from the cockpit, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent’s affidavit filed with a criminal complaint the next day. After Osbon began shouting and pounding on the flight deck door, he was restrained by some of the plane’s passengers.

The suing passengers “experienced fear of imminent death and severe physical injury due to the actions of defendant Osbon and the ensuing struggle to subdue him” and “suffered severe emotional disturbance, anxiety and fear,” according to the complaint.

The flight was diverted to Amarillo, Texas, where Osbon, 49, of Georgia, was taken into custody and charged with interfering with the duties of a flight crew. He was indicted on April 11 and told a federal judge in Texas later that month that he intends to mount an insanity defense.

JetBlue declined to comment on the lawsuit. Osbon’s attorney in Texas, E. Dean Roper, didn’t immediately return a telephone message left at his office seeking comment.

The case is Euler v. JetBlue Airways Corp., 701032/2012, New York State Supreme Court (Queens).

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