Man attacked in airport suing U.S. Airways for injuries; Singing to music on iPod may have annoyed attacker

Alejandro de los Rios Feb. 25, 2011, 1:30am

Orleans Parish Judge Piper Griffin will hear oral arguments today on a motion to transfer a suit against U.S. Airways involving a 2007 altercation at Louis Armstrong International Airport.

Passenger David Kristensen filed the suit in 2008, blaming the airline for not properly restraining another passenger from attacking him.

New Orleans attorney Douglas Kraus represents Kristensen.

The petition for damages claims the defendants are liable for not having proper security in place to prevent the attack from occurring, as well as other claims that the defendants could have done more to protect the plaintiff.

The lawsuit has previously named the City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Aviation Board (NOAB) as defendants. Kraus dropped the charges after NOAB filed a motion for summary judgment stating it could not have foreseen the attack.

U.S. Airways subsequently filed a motion to transfer the case to Jefferson Parish, where the incident occurred. Its motion states that the incident "was investigated by the Jefferson Parish Police and [the attacker] is being criminally tried in 24th JDC."

The altercation happened after Kristensen and co-defendant Michael Petrofsky met in Ft. Myers, Fla. and "the two drank heavily," NOAB's motion stated.

After flying to Charlotte on the same plane without incident, Petrofsky and Kristensen engaged in a verbal argument on their connecting flight to New Orleans. Kristensen admitted in a deposition that he "had been singing along with the music on his iPod" and that may have annoyed Petrofsky.

Kristensen and Petrofsky were separated on the flight and, after they landed, Kristensen said he was "not concerned" when he disembarked. Petrofsky ran up behind Kristensen and assaulted him on head, arms and chest.

Kristensen admitted that the attack "came as a complete surprise" to him.

Orleans Parish Case 2008-13012

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