Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
FREE Consultations Available
Tampa Car Accident Lawyers > Blog > Sexual Assault > DELTA SUED FOR SEXUAL ASSUALT ON OVERSEAS FLIGHT



For decades transportation by airplane has been a necessity for travelers and business people alike. Those who travel often have likely accumulated stories over the years, some funny — some not, of the various incidents that can occur while traveling: like lost luggage, delayed flights, drunk pilots, intolerable weather, etc.

How about incidents of sexual assault?  Must be a rarity you say. Wrong! The evidence shows there could be hundreds of incidents of assault and battery on flights around the world each year.

A woman says she awoke on an overnight Delta flight to a man squeezing her crotch and then leaning on top of her as she struggled to get out of her aisle seat.

Allison Dvaladze ran and frantically asked flight attendants for help, she said, but was told such assaults are quite common and to just return to her seat as if nothing happened.

Nearly two years after she says she watched the man walk off the plane unhindered, Dvaladze sued Delta Air Lines in federal court Tuesday — unsatisfied with the frequent flier miles she says the airline offered for the inconvenience of a sexual assault.

She is seeking unspecified damages for gross negligence leading to injury, medical bills, physical and emotional pain and humiliation.

Dvaladze, who lives outside Seattle, was bound for Amsterdam and then East Africa on April 15, 2016. She was going to help run a breast cancer program for developing countries there, the Seattle Times reported.

A few hours into the flight, as the cabin lights dimmed, she drifted off to sleep with headphones in her ears.

She said she awoke to find her seat-mate’s hand between her legs. The man continued to sexually assault Dvaldze despite her repeated protestations for him to stop at once. Dvaldze eventually broke free and complained to the flight crew who, shockingly, told her to let it go and that “gropings” on flights were commonplace. That’s right, Delta crew members said it was no big deal. Then to make matters worse, the flight crew did nothing to report the sexual assault.

When the plane landed, no police were waiting at the jet bridge.

“The man who had assaulted her walked off the plane as if nothing had happened,” the Seattle Times wrote.

To this day, Dvaladze said, Delta has not revealed his name.

She emailed the airline from Nairobi to ask what its investigation had turned up, she said, and was eventually told Delta had no record of an assault.

In the lawsuit, Dvaladze claims crew members told her they would be more concerned if she were a child, but that in-seat gropings were a regular thing. Unbelievably, the data supports that troubling conclusion.

The Seattle Times reported the FBI investigates several dozen assault claims each year, but many more go unreported. The president of the Association of Flight Attendants — who said she had been groped herself — told PBS a survey found 20 percent of attendants have been told of an assault on their plane, suggesting there are thousands of such incidents.

Victims of sexual assault may be able to sue an airline for damages such as medical bills, emotional trauma, and pain and suffering. If the airlines knew of such criminal conduct and let it occur anyway then punitive damages could be available.

Since 1976 The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. has been protecting the rights of sexual assault victims. If you or a loved one have been assaulted on a plane please contact our office for a free confidential consultation with Nicholas G. Matassini, a board certified trial lawyer who is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Based in Tampa, Florida we handle personal injury, civil litigation, and criminal defense in all counties throughout the Tampa Bay area.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

The experience you need in your pursuit of justice

The greatest distinguishing feature among attorneys is their level of experience. Our firm has more than 60 years of legal experience, much of it spent in the courtroom at trial. As a result, our Tampa personal injury lawyers rarely encounter an unfamiliar situation and can thoroughly answer your urgent questions. Our criminal defense practice features a board certified criminal trial lawyer and two former prosecutors with impressive knowledge of trial tactics and procedures.

The resources to provide quality representation for the length of your case

Whether your case involves medical malpractice, an auto accident or a wrongful death, your attorney must be prepared to take the case all the way through trial to verdict. Many personal injury attorneys advance the cost of litigation, so they can only last so long before financial pressures start to mount. As a client, you have to wonder whether an attorney's advice to settle your case reflects the quality of the offer or your attorneys need to get paid. Fortunately, The Matassini Law Firm has the resources to pursue civil verdicts and settlements that reflect the actual value of your case.

Call our Tampa Bay car accident lawyers for a free consultation

A crisis in your life calls for capable and compassionate assistance. The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. addresses your needs all the way through the legal process. For your free initial confidential conference with one of our Tampa car accident attorneys, call us today at 813-217-5715 or contact us online.

Share This Page:
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Toll Free
2811 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, Florida 33609