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What do you call it when you fall asleep on a plane and no one wakes you up after it lands?
Ginger McGuire calls it false imprisonment. On behalf of McGuire, attorney Geoffrey Fieger is suing United Airlines for false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress and negligence. Fieger is well known as a legal commentator and former attorney for Jack Kevorkian.
The strange story began when McGuire was allegedly left asleep on a United Express flight operated by Trans States Airlines for over three hours after it landed. McGuire fell asleep during her flight from Washington to Philadelphia. McGuire's plane landed just after midnight on Tuesday morning. She was discovered still sleeping by a cleaning crew at close to 4 a.m.
United spokeswoman Sarah Massier told the Detroit Free Press: "We are working closely with our partner Trans States Airlines to investigate the cause and remedy the situation with the customer."
So what is false imprisonment, and is McGuire likely to win in a lawsuit against United?
As we covered in a previous post, false imprisonment is the confinement of a person against their will, without legal authority. False imprisonment can be filed as civil or criminal claim, or as both.
In this situation, attorney Geoffrey Fieger may argue that despite the fact that she was asleep, McGuire was confined in the plane against her will and without legal authority. Fieger may contend that United Airlines had an obligation to make sure its passengers were removed from the plane safely. The case might seem like a stretch, but stranger lawsuits have been won.