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Man sues American Airlines for $100,000 after 'being injured by grossly obese' passengers

Michael Anthony Taylor claims he was forced to 'contort his body' during a 14-hour flight  

Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 16 May 2017 17:11 BST
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(Getty Images)

An Australian man is suing American Airlines (AA) for $AUD100,000 (£60,000) after he claimed he was injured by being seated next to two passengers he described as “grossly obese” on a long-haul flight.

Michael Anthony Taylor, from Wollongong, New South Wales, is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages after he claims that he was left with permanent back and neck injuries because he was crushed by the passengers beside him during a 14-hour flight from Sydney to Los Angeles.

According to court documents, the body of the passenger sat next to Mr Taylor “spilt over and encroached” into his seat. He claimed this forced him to “contort his body into a series of positions including standing up, crouching, keeling and leaning forward”, News.com.au reported.

Since the flight in December 2015, Mr Taylor says that he has suffered from back injuries and neck pain, and that it aggravated his pre-existing spinal curvature.

Thomas Jansen of Shine Lawyers, who is representing Mr Taylor, alleged that his client asked the cabin crew to change seats - including offering to move to the toilet - “on numerous occasions” to “alleviate the pain and discomfort that he was suffering from".

“On each occasion, he was refused and rebuffed,” Mr Jansen said.

Mr Taylor’s complaint comes amid rising concerns about space and legroom on commercial aircrafts.

American Airlines recently announced that it plans to slash the size of seat pitches by two inches in its 737 Max jetliner fleet to fit three extra rows on the plane, according to CNN.

Prior to American Airlines’ announcement, its codeshare partner British Airways revealed to add 52 seats to its longhaul 777 fleet by shrinking seats.

A spokesperson from American Airlines told The Independent: “We just received the lawsuit and we are reviewing the allegations".

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