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United slapped with emotional distress class action suit over 777 engine failure

written by Hannah Dowling | March 10, 2021

A United Boeing 777-200, registration N772UA, was performing flight UA328 to Honolulu on Saturday when it suffered an engine failure shortly after take-off from Denver (Image Source: NTSB)

Passengers onboard United Airlines Flight 328 have reportedly slammed United with a class action lawsuit, citing emotional distress, after one of the plane’s engines failed and caught fire mid-flight.

Chad Schnell, the passenger leading the class action, claimed that the incident caused him severe emotional distress, and accused the airline of failing to properly inspect and maintain its aircraft fleet, thus causing the incident.

The lawsuit, filed with a Colorado court, stated that the engine in question “spectacularly failed” before “scattering pieces of the engine over Colorado and leaving passengers to a horrifying view of a fire on the wing”.

“The 231 passengers on board UA328 were lucky to escape with their lives, as the flight managed to land with no serious physical injuries; however, it left these passengers in fear for their life for nearly 20 minutes,” it said.

“Nearly all of them experienced the emotional distress that would be a natural human emotional response to a near-death experience.”

Schnell’s lawyer, Jonathan Corbett, added that the passengers are struggling mentally after the incident.

“Common things are flashback scenarios, nightmares, general fear,” Corbett said.

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The lawsuit suggests that the airline is responsible for the incident, and should pay damages to all passengers onboard. It added that “the total amount in controversy is likely to exceed $5,000,000”.

In a statement released after the lawsuit was filed, United Airlines backed the actions of its employees and reiterated its emphasis on safety.

“We remain proud of the ability of our employees to safely get our UA328 customers back to the airport and ultimately on to their destination later that same day,” the statement said.

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“Safety remains our highest priority – for our employees and our customers. Given the ongoing federal investigation, we will not comment further on this lawsuit at this time.”

On Saturday, 20 February, a United Boeing 777-200, registration N772UA, was performing flight UA328 to Honolulu when it suffered an engine failure shortly after take-off from Denver.

The 26-year-old aircraft had 231 passengers and 10 crew on board when the right PW4000 series engine failed and caught alight at around 13,000 feet, and rained debris over homes and yards in Broomfield, Colorado, as passengers and witnesses looked on.

Last month, World of Aviation reported that the engine in question had performed less than 3,000 cycles, under half the number required between engine blade inspections.

Under Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, the Pratt & Whitney PW4000 series engine that is used on the United 777 is supposed to be inspected every 6,500 cycles, in light of a separate United engine incident that occurred in 2018.

After this most recent incident, engine maker Pratt & Whitney advised airlines to increase engine checks to once every 1,000 cycles.

5 Comments

  • Only in America! Elsewhere, passengers would be full of praise for the crew and relieved to be alive.

  • Oliver

    says:

    What a joke, they should put the lawyer behind bars and stop that type of thing.
    Oh and that’s the risk you whenever you enter a plane or means of transport.

  • ray

    says:

    how the hell does money fix the so called “emotional distress “
    what bullshit , their just trying to make money out of it ,
    these planes can fly on one engine ,
    & it was not “engine parts” that fell off , it was bits of the cowling & nacelle

  • Ronald Spencer

    says:

    The only people who will receive the money are the lawyers

  • smithpharm

    says:

    B707 aborted takeoff with #2 compressor stall at Frankfurt – plane replaced – then return to Beirut that night one engine inop – fire trucks on taxiways – oh the horror – Hint – July 1968 PanAm
    Who do I sue?

    Get over it snowflakes – no-one cares about your contrived “emotional distress”

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