Lawsuit Settled After Black Mother Finds Vomit-Covered Seats On Flight

The Airfield At Miami International Airport

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A multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against Frontier Airlines has been settled after a Black mother and her child found their seats covered in vomit, according to local newspaper The News & Observer.

Rosetta Swinney, of Durham, North Carolina, sued the airline in 2019 after she and her 14-year-old daughter boarded the plane from Las Vegas to Raleigh. They allegedly found the floor, seat pocket, and seatback tray befouled by puke. The mother claims she and her daughter had no room to store their carry-on bags, and the teenager reportedly told her mother she "felt and smelled a liquid on her hands" and "believed she had a stranger’s vomit on her hands."

Swinney complained to a flight attendant about the mess, who gave the mother some cleaning wipes to clean up the seats and said, "it was not her job" to tidy up the area, according to court documents. The North Carolina woman refused to clean the area, leading to an argument between the Swinney and the Frontier employee, reporters learned.

The filings say the mother and daughter then moved to empty seats, and the crew asked the family to leave. Swinney reportedly refused, and authorities got involved. According to court documents, Swinney was arrested for trespassing and her daughter was temporarily placed in the custody of Nevada’s Child Protective Services. She was also the subject of a viral video, which shows her handcuffed and yelling at Frontier employees after she deboarded the plane.

Frontier Airlines had a different take on the story in a statement issued days after the incident. The company claimed the flight attendants "apologized and immediately invited the mother and her teenage daughter to move to either end of the plane so that the seat area could be cleaned." The company alleges Swinney "was unsatisfied with the response and became disruptive" and that the family should be removed from the plane accommodated on another flight.

The Durham mother filed the complaint on August 8 later that year, asking for over $55 million in damages for defamation, negligence, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress, the filing states.

Reporters learned from court documents that the airline and the family settled for an undisclosed amount of money in January this year.

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