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American Airlines Faces $1M Lawsuit Over Bomb Threat Accusation

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By Suman Varandani, International Business Times

American Airlines is facing a more than $1 million lawsuit filed by a widow who claimed a baggage handler made false accusations against her husband that led to his arrest. The lawsuit was filed in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia by Debbie Cardarelli.

According to court documents, Debbie was flying home to Rochester, New York, in March 2017 with her husband, Richard S. Cardarelli, from Miami, Florida, after a vacation, when the incident took place. The couple had a layover in Philadelphia and when they began to board the plane they were asked to gate check their carry-on luggage due to the plane already being full.

[post_ads]While trying to retrieve eye drops from his carry-on luggage at the gate, an American Airlines baggage handler claimed Richard made a bomb threat. Richard was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction and making terrorist threats about a bomb. His bail was set at $25,000 cash, which was posted the next day.

Debbie blamed the airline for not taking responsibility for its employee's bad behavior. She also said the airline refused to respond to legal subpoenas which led to her husband's criminal trial being delayed and barred him from taking a flight to attend the trial.

In her police report, American Airlines baggage handler Tawanda Ward said Richard allegedly told her, “If I don’t get my bag back, it’s going to blow up!” the Inquirer reported.

According to the lawsuit, the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas judge acquitted Richard of all charges after questioning Ward's time delay in revealing the supposed threat.

"She lied through her teeth," Debbie said. "It's so ridiculous what I'm going through just because someone lied."

Richard, who died in January from pancreatic cancer, had to spend his 59th birthday in jail.

“It breaks my heart that his last birthday on the face of this earth was spent in jail,” Debbie said.
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American Airlines has not responded to the latest lawsuit filed against it.

In the last few months, the airline has received several complaints against its employees.

Earlier this month, American Airlines was accused of unreasonable behavior for removing a woman from a plane as she was carrying an over-sized cello even though she had purchased a seat for the instrument. The musician said in her complaint that the airline told her prior to her booking that she could carry the instrument on board.

In April, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed against American Airlines due to a woman's death after suffering a medical emergency mid-flight. The woman's family said in their suit that the flight crew never attempted to make an emergency landing and the medical equipment available on the plane were also faulty. American Airlines issued a statement at the time saying: “We take the safety of our passengers very seriously and we are looking into the details of the complaint."

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