Arab-American sues Delta after employee tells him to gate-check his bags

Michelle Keahey Feb. 16, 2012, 2:10am


NEW ORLEANS - After being asked to gate-check his luggage, an Arab-American has filed a lawsuit against Delta claiming he is a victim of racial discrimination.

Walid Mizyed filed suit against Delta Air Lines Inc. on Dec. 29, 2011 in Jefferson Parish District Court. The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Feb. 8.

According to the lawsuit, Mizyed is an American citizen of Arab descent.

He states that was attempting to fly out of New Orleans International Airport on Jan. 3, 2011 to Amman, Jordan. When checking in his bags, a Delta employee asked Mizyed if he was carrying on any luggage and Mizyed allegedly stated that he was carrying on two bags. He was allowed to proceed without question.

After making it through screening and through boarding, Mizyed was stopped and told that his bags needed to be "gate checked" and a fee was required.

Mizyed protested paying the fee claiming that the other passengers were not required to pay. He was informed that if he did not pay, he would be removed from the flight.

"Mr. Mizyed, feeling he had been selectively singled out and unfairly charged due to his race and ethnicity, refused to pay the fee and was removed from the flight," the lawsuit states.

Delta is accused of discriminating against Mizyed based on his race, color or national origin and for breach of contract.

The plaintiff is asking for an award of damages, interest and court costs.

Mizyed is represented by John S. McLindon of Rainer, Anding & McLindon in Baton Rouge.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-00382

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