Paralyzed Vet Sues Airport, Airline Workers For Mistreatment At O’Hare

CHICAGO (CBS) — A former U.S. Marine, who was left in a wheelchair following his service in Afghanistan, is filing a lawsuit alleging he was injured and left soaked in his own urine after he was mistreated by airline and airport workers at O’Hare International Airport nearly two years ago.

WBBM Newsradio’s Terry Keshner reports former Marine Sgt. Joseph Smith was wounded in Afghanistan in 2004, and confined to a wheelchair.

Smith is suing Air Serv Corporation and United Airlines for $300,000 in damages, claiming an Air Serv employee carelessly dumped him out of his wheelchair at O’Hare in November 2010, after ignoring warnings a wheel had become stuck.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Terry Keshner Reports

At the time, Smith was traveling as part of a Paralympic shooting team, and trying to catch a connecting flight at O’Hare when the worker tipped his chair over while boarding the plane.

“I flew out of my chair, hit my head on the left side of my head. … I landed on my head,” Smith said.

He suffered a concussion, and said he was denied an aisle seat on his United Airlines flight, and was forced to drag himself to his seat without help. His catheter bag spilled in the process, soaking him with urine.

His attorney, Alex Hattimer, said, “the catheter bag ruptures, he ends up with urine spilled all over him. He drags his urine-covered, limb body down the aisle.”

Smith said the lawsuit is about dignity, more than money.

“Apparently some people out there, they just don’t get it. So, I want to make sure this never happens to someone else,” he said. “I just want people out there to know that … people with disabilities, we’re not invisible. We’re people, too.”

Calls to Air Serv and United were not immediately returned.

  • Disabled Vet Sues Over Not So Friendly Skies | Common Sense

    […] Origination […]

  • Paralyzed Vet Sues O'hare Aiport and Workers for Mistreatment | American Live Wire

    […] to CBS News, a former U.S. marine now paralyzed vet sues O’Hare Airport and its workers for mistreating […]

  • Paralyzed Vet Sues Airport, Airline Workers For Mistreatment At O’Hare « CBS Chicago » The Information Nation

    […] via Paralyzed Vet Sues Airport, Airline Workers For Mistreatment At O’Hare « CBS Chicago. […]

  • SGT Smith at O’Hare |

    […] dare you to read the story of paralyzed Marine Sgt. Joseph Smith’s terrible treatment at O’Hare Airport while maintaining normal blood […]

  • Why Do We Treat Our Vets Like This? – The Brenner Brief

    […] Read the full story here. […]

  • Any "Latest & Greatest" about Delta? - Page 11558 - Airline Pilot Central Forums

    […] […]

  • Anonymous

    […] […]

  • Chicago Airport Injures and Humiliates Disabled War Veteran | News Worth Views

    […] Former Marine Sgt. Joseph Smith was wounded in 2004 in Afghanistan which left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. It also meant that he had to use a catheter to contain his urine. […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live