DENVER (CBS4) – Two women who say they were sexually assaulted by other passengers on Frontier Airlines flights are suing the Colorado based carrier for allegedly refusing to help them and either not having or failing to follow policies to respond to assaults. The class action lawsuit was filed Dec. 16.
“It’s embarrassing, it’s traumatic, and it takes a lot of bravery to come forward,” said Attorney Pamela Maass, representing the plaintiffs in this case.
The women say they reported the assaults to flight attendants, who did not report them to anyone else and did not request that law enforcement meet them at the planes.
“When they told flight attendants what happened, they were told to go back to their seats,” Maass said to CBS4 on Thursday.
A Frontier spokeswoman said she can’t comment on litigation but added that the safety of the airline’s passengers and employees is its top priority.
“We have strict policies in place to proactively and appropriately respond to reports of misconduct and alleged crimes,” a spokesman told CBS4 by email.
The two incidents happened in October and November of 2018, according to Maass, on separate red eye flights from Denver to the east coast. For one of the plaintiffs, she woke up to a passenger next to her reaching in between her legs and assaulting her. The other woman says she was groped from behind by a passenger in another row.
“They’re demanding that Frontier Airlines makes changes put policies and procedures in place to make sure this never happens to anyone else again.”
The FBI was eventually notified in both cases but Maass says it was well after evidence and witnesses were not easily available from the time of the alleged assaults. IN one case the FBI did not find enough evidence to pursue charges and it is still investigating the other.
The lawsuit not only asks for a change in policy and procedure but will also seek monetarily damages but no figure was given by Maass.
“With that power comes responsibility, they have a duty to protect their passengers,” Maass said.
A statement released by another attorney, Annika K. Martin, for plaintiffs Lena Ramsay and “Jane Doe” shared more details about the lawsuit:
- This is a class action against Frontier for failure to have and/or follow policies and procedures to prevent, report, and respond to sexual assault of its passengers on its flights.
- The prevalence of passenger-on-passenger in-flight sexual assault is a wellknown, and growing, problem. In fact, in 2018, the FBI issued a warning – to airlines and the public at large – that the number of sexual assaults reported during commercial airline flights has been increasing “at an alarming rate.”
- Frontier, like all airlines, has an affirmative duty to aid and protect its passengers. This duty includes protecting passengers from sexual assaults by fellow passengers, and responding properly to in-flight sexual assaults that do occur.
- Frontier violated this duty by failing to implement and enforce appropriate policies and procedures to prevent, or properly respond to, sexual assaults that occur on its flights; failing to report in-flight sexual assaults to the proper authorities, or to any authorities; and failing to cooperate with authorities in the reporting and investigation process into in-flight sexual assaults.
- As a result of these violations by Frontier, Plaintiffs were sexually assaulted by their fellow passengers while they were on Frontier flights, and are at an ongoing risk for future sexual assaults.
- Frontier’s failure to implement and enforce polices to prevent and properly respond to in-flight sexual assault led Frontier employees and representatives to fail to properly respond to those assaults; fail to report the assaults to the any authorities; and fail to cooperate with authorities investigating those assaults.
Frontier’s actions and inactions were – and are – part of a pattern of behavior and a common course of conduct towards all its passengers, including Plaintiffs and Class members.
- Plaintiffs seek appropriate relief, including but not limited to compensatory damages and injunctive relief, on behalf of all others similarly situated who were unnecessarily put at risk and harmed by Frontier’s common course of misconduct.