Since Sunday’s violent removal of Dr. David Dao from his United Airlines’ seat, many of us have been wondering who would represent Dr. Dao in his inevitable lawsuit against United Airlines. Our answer came via a press conference held by prominent Chicago lawyer Thomas Demetrio who has signed on to represent Dr. Dao.
No lawsuit has officially been filed yet.
“People have asked me, ‘Well, why don’t you just file the lawsuit?’…. When we file our lawsuit, it’s going to be because every word, every preposition, is in that lawsuit for a reason,” Demetrio said.
“If unreasonable force and violence is used, under a set of circumstances, the airline, in this case United Airlines, is responsible,” he said. He added that Chicago aviation police are also at fault.
Demetrio, a graduate of Notre Dame and Chicago Law School, is a prominent Chicago lawyer. His firm focuses on medical negligence, airplane crashes, and commercial litigation. Demetrio himself is no stranger to high-stakes litigation against behemoth multinational companies. His website boasts that Demetrio won a $1 billion settlement against the NFL and NHL. Players and their families brought a concussion class action. Demetrio is also credited with a $25 million settlement stemming from the crash of Boeing-manufactured U.S. Air Flight #427. In 2006, he represented victims of a scaffolding accident at the John Hancock Building in Chicago, where each of the ten victims got $75 million in the settlement.
NBC notes comments by retired Cook County Circuit Judge Thomas Hogan in an interview for SuperLawyers magazine in 2009. “He has an ability to connect. He doesn’t condescend to a jury. They understand that he’s an advocate and that he has fulfilled the promise he made to them at the opening statement,” he said.
Demetrio also has a long history of taking on airlines, most notably for victims of plane crashes.
He represented the families of 27 people killed three years ago when an American Eagle flight slammed into an Indiana farm field. The families settled in 1997 with the airline and manufacturers of the airplane for approximately $110 million.
In 1999, he won $30 million in settlements for victims in two American Eagle plane crashes in Morrisville, North Carolina, and Roselawn, Indiana.
Demetrio also took on pro bono work on behalf families who lost loved ones at in the 9/11 attacks, according to SuperLawyers Magazine.