A woman is suing Delta Air Lines, claiming an off-duty employee kissed and groped her after being overserved alcohol by flight attendants

A Delta Air Lines Airbus.
Delta Air Lines is being sued over an off-duty employee's behavior. James D. Morgan/Getty Images.
  • A woman sued Delta Air Lines, alleging an off-duty employee got too drunk and kissed her.

  • The lawsuit claims flight attendants served the employee five cans of wine.

  • It then alleges that the worker kissed the plaintiff "multiple times" and "rubbed her buttocks."

A woman is suing Delta Air Lines, alleging that an off-duty employee kissed and groped her after being overserved alcohol by flight attendants.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday in the US District Court of Minnesota and viewed by Business Insider, states that the woman, Alison Petri, was on a flight from Las Vegas to Minneapolis on November 17, 2022, when the alleged incident occurred.

In a statement to BI on Tuesday, a Delta Air Lines spokesperson said, "The alleged assailant at the time was an employee of a Delta subsidiary but not directly employed by Delta." The spokesperson did not respond when asked what subsidiary the employee, identified in the lawsuit as Abigail Louise Trebnick-Emerson, worked for.

"While we don't have any specific comment on this pending litigation, Delta does not tolerate inappropriate or unlawful behavior," the airline's statement continued. "Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and our people."

Delta Air Lines
REUTERS/Ginnette Riquelme

According to the suit, Trebnick-Emerson boarded the flight with a "'crew' bag, indicating that she was a flight crew member," the lawsuit states. She was seated in the middle of a three-seat row, with the plaintiff in the aisle and an unnamed man in the window seat, per the suit.

The lawsuit alleges that after she was served three cans of wine, Trebnick-Emerson kissed Petri on the mouth, to which Petri did not consent. After two more cans of wine, the defendant kissed Petri on the cheek "multiple times," the lawsuit states. Once the plane landed and Petri stood to gather her luggage, the employee "rubbed [Petri]'s buttocks," the suit continues.

"The concept of being touched inappropriately on an airplane is really scary because it's not like other locations where you might be able to leave," Jeffrey Storms, Petri's lawyer, told Business Insider on Tuesday. "You're stuck there."

According to the lawsuit, Petri walked to the back of the plane after being kissed to inform a flight attendant — but the flight attendant continued serving the employee.

The lawsuit claims Petri also reported the incident to gate agents and Delta Airport Customer Service and asked them to inform law enforcement. Trebnick-Emerson was initially charged with criminal sexual conduct in the fifth degree and disorderly conduct, per the suit.

A prosecutor dismissed the criminal sexual conduct charge, but Trebnick-Emerson was convicted of disorderly conduct over the summer, local Minnesota news outlet KMSP reported, and sentenced to one year of unsupervised monitoring. It's unclear what month Trebnick-Emerson was convicted and sentenced.

delta air lines terminal gate passenger waits
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The lawsuit also claimed flight attendants repeatedly contacted Trebnick-Emerson to warn her about the report and included screenshots of what appear to be Facebook messages between Trebnick-Emerson and the flight attendants.

BI was unable to corroborate the validity of the messages independently or how they were acquired, but Storms, the attorney for Petri, told BI the flight attendants "conspired with one another" to provide what he says was misleading information to Delta investigators and law enforcement.

"[The employees were] effectively trying to cover up for the passenger who was overserved and inappropriately touched my client," Storms told BI. "The attempted coverup by those employees is all well-documented in Facebook messages."

"When you find out that the people who are supposed to protect you there, in fact, are willing to very quickly mobilize to cover up the acts of their colleagues, it creates an even greater sense of powerlessness," Storms continued.

According to the lawsuit, when Trebnick-Emerson was leaving the airport, she fell down the escalator twice, at which point law enforcement officers were dispatched to evaluate her. Photos included in the suit appear to show her falling down the stairs.

"The responding officer concluded that Trebnick-Emerson was so intoxicated that she could not care for herself, so he placed her on a medical hold and Trebnick-Emerson was transported by ambulance to Southdale Hospital," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit claims that Petri "incurred and will incur medical bills, emotional distress, embarrassment, and pain and suffering." As such, she's seeking a jury trial and $75,000, but her lawyer told BI it isn't about the money.

"I'm not sure what the outcome will be monetary-wise, but that's really secondary to making Delta take this seriously and bringing awareness to the issue," Storms said.

Read the original article on Insider