Pilot Sues JetBlue For $14M For Making Him Fly Plane Despite Mental Issues
An ex-JetBlue pilot is suing the airline company for allowing him to fly despite his mental condition. On March 27,2012, Clayton Osbon had a mid-air breakdown. He ran through the aisle of the airplane and told passengers who were bound for Las Vegas, “Pray f***ing now for Jesus Christ […] this plane will never make it to Vegas.” Because of the incident, he filled a $14.9 million lawsuit against the air carrier this year. Osbon’s lawsuit claims, there was a breach of contract and negligence.
Osbon alleges JetBlue should have known he was not capable of working because his frightening behavior on that particular flight was caused by a head injury endured while having a seizure as a child. The lawsuit details Osbon’s head injury, saying it “severely impaired his ability to perform basic activities, caused him to hallucinate, and caused extreme feelings of paranoia and religious fervor.” The day of the flight, Osbon missed the pre-flight meeting and arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport disheveled and disoriented.
He says he also told the flight’s first officer that he was unable to fly. Still, Osbon flew the plane and while on the flight, passengers had to restrain him and the flight had to land in Amarillo, Texas for him to be removed from the plane. Osbon was charged with interfering with the flight crew; he pleaded insanity.
JetBlue has not responded to the lawsuit, but in a statement to The Wall Street Journal praised the flight crew who followed safety/ security procedures, locked Osbon out of the cockpit and landed the flight safely.
Airline captain John Gazindski noted to the Associated Press that pilots are required to disclose psychiatric or psychological treatment or hospitalization to the airline they work for. They are also required to have an annual physical. However, pilots are not screened for their mental health.