Man attacked by emotional-support dog on flight sues Delta – NBC News

Man attacked by emotional-support dog on flight sues Delta - NBC News
Man Mauled by Veterans Emotional Support Dog on Delta Flight Files Lawsuit
An Alabama man is suing Delta Air Lines and one of its passengers after getting mauled by an emotional-support dog on a flight in 2017.

The attack was so severe that Marlin Jackson suffered “extensive facial damage,” including lacerations to his nose and mouth, and bled so profusely “that the entire row of seats had to be removed from the airplane,” according to the suit, which was filed Friday in Georgias State Court of Fulton County.

A Delta spokesperson told CBS News the company cannot comment on pending litigation. However, the company “continuously reviews and enhances its policies and procedures for animals onboard as part of its commitment to health, safety and protecting the rights of customers with disabilities,” Delta said in a statement to CBS News.

Jackson was seated in a window seat on a Delta flight from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to San Diego International Airport in June 2017, the suit says.

“The animal was so large it encroached into the aisle seat and window seat,”according to Jacksons law suit, filed in Fulton County State Court on Friday. According to the suit, Delta policy for large animals states they should be secured on the floor, but employees allowed the dog to remain on its owners lap.

Delta passenger, 44, whose face was mauled by veterans emotional support dog sues the animals owner and airline after suffering permanent injury

Fellow passenger Ronald Mundy was already in his middle seat “with his large dog attempting to sit in his lap,” according to the suit, which says that Deltas policy required large emotional-support dogs be secured on the floor.

Jackson said he suffered permanent damage, severe physical pain, and continues to experience emotional distress. He also said he sustained a loss of income or earning potential and lost life enjoyment. His lawsuit says Delta neglected to control the situation,  and violated its own animal policy.

“Defendant Delta allowed the large animal to remain in Defendant Mundys lap while Delta employees passed through the area in open disregard of said policy,” the suit states.

Video: Man files lawsuit after being attacked by dog on flight

Jackson asked Mundy if the dog would bite and Mundy assured him the animal was safe. As Jackson buckled his seat belt, the dog started to growl and shift in Mundys lap, according to the lawsuit. Jackson again asked if the dog was safe, and Mundy said it was.

Marlin Jackson was in a window seat June 2017 flight, while serviceman Ronald Kevin Mundy Jr was in the middle seat next to him with the chocolate lab pointer mix sat unrestrained on his lap.

Man reportedly attacked by emotional-support dog on flight sues owner, Delta

Without warning, the dog lunged at Jackson, biting him several times in the face and pinning him against the window, the suit states.

A Delta passenger who was mauled by a veterans emotional support dog has filed a double lawsuit against the animals owner and the airline after suffering gruesome injuries.

Plane passengers horrific face injuries after attack by emotional support dog

“The attack was briefly interrupted when the animal was pulled away from Mr. Jackson. However, the animal broke free and again mauled Mr. Jacksons face,” according to the lawsuit.

The attack on Mr. Jackson would not have happened had Delta enforced their own pre-existing policies concerning animals in the cabin, the attorneys wrote in a statement to Huffington Post.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the dog that attacked Jackson was 50 pounds. Mundy is a military veteran, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Representatives of Jackson told The Huffington Post that they are aware Delta changed their policy. But, they said, Delta should have done more when the incident occurred.

Jackson required 28 stitches and lost sensation in parts of his face, the suit states. He also experiences “emotional distress and mental anguish” from the attack. Jackson is seeking damages in an amount to be determined by the court.

“Marlin Jackson continues to suffer from the vicious dog attack,” his attorneys J. Ross Massey and Graham Roberts said in a joint statement to NBC News. “The attack on Mr. Jackson would not have happened had Delta enforced their own pre-existing policies concerning animals in the cabin.”

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A Delta spokesperson said the airline could not comment on pending litigation, but that in 2018 it changed its policy regarding emotional-support animals by requiring a “confirmation of animal training” form, as well as other official documentation.

“The airline also banned pit bulls and animals under four months of age as service or support animals. These policy updates reinforce Deltas core value of putting safety first, always,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

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In that policy change in December, Delta said it was also banning emotional-support animals on flights that are longer than eight hours. The company made the changes following an 84 percent increase in incidents involving service and support animals in 2016 and 2017.

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Marlin Jackson of Daphne was sitting next to a window on a flight from Atlanta to San Diego when the dog, traveling with the passenger next to him, attacked and bit him, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In the suit, which also names the animals owner, Jacksons attorneys said his client bled so profusely that the entire row of seats had to be removed from the airplane. The airline took no action to verify or document the behavioral training of the large animal, the suit contends.

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The airline defines service animals as those who help passengers with visual impairment, deafness, diabetes, seizures or other physical needs. Emotional support animals assist those with emotional, psychiatric, cognitive or psychological disabilities, Delta said. Passengers with those animals must now complete the required form that includes information on the medical necessity for the animal and information on its training.