A family from Rockland County is suing Delta Airlines over claims that an airline employee smacked their 12-year-old son's phone out of his hand while he filmed her during a lengthy delay at LaGuardia last year.
According to a complaint filed in Rockland County, Matthew Boggan, then 12, was on his way to West Palm Beach with his family on July 1st of last year to attend a bar mitzvah. Their Delta flight was subject to a lengthy weather-related delay, and after 12 hours (by which point it was July 2nd), a Delta employee made an announcement to passengers at the gate that the flight would be delayed even further. The complaint says Boggan pulled out his cell phone to post video of the passengers' reactions to Snapchat; the unidentified employee then allegedly "physically, aggressively and violently swatted the cellphone out of Matthew Boggan's hand," according to the complaint.
The employee also allegedly "made physical contact" with the tween's hand at the time, and allegedly told him it was illegal for him to film her. Boggan still managed to capture video of the incident, which you can watch below. You can hear passengers yelling after Boggan's phone is swatted:
Boggan's father, Brian Boggan, called the incident "child abuse," and is suing the airline for unspecified punitive damages, claiming the employee endangered the welfare of a child by hitting the tween. Boggan's attorney, Terrence James Cortelli, maintains that the child was not violating any law by filming the employee. Cortelli provided Gothamist with the following statement:
We believe that Delta's actions here are indicative of the complete disregard the airlines have for their passengers. They simply do not have any sensitivity for the men, women and children who ride their planes. We understand that delays happen. But here the delays went above and beyond. And not only that. They sought out and attacked and humiliated a child. As if he was to blame for the mess they created. And now they say he deserved it. Their actions are outrageous and we look forward to presenting our case to a jury.
An attorney for Delta told the NY Post that Boggan "interfered with the Delta agent’s ability to communication an announcement." Cortelli, meanwhile, told the tabloid this was just one of many recent incidents that prove airlines don't value their passengers. "They don’t care. They know we’re trapped. We have to do whatever they say," he said, referencing an incident last month in which United employees bloodied a passenger in Kentucky while dragging him off a flight after he refused to voluntarily give up his seat.
Meanwhile, the Boggans did make it to Florida, though their flight was eventually delayed 17 hours.
Delta's communications department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.