Airlines settle $6M lawsuit in death of Bronx woman who was 'too fat' to fly home to

I'm curious about what others think about this story. I'm torn.

The husband of a Bronx woman who died abroad after she was allegedly barred from flying back to the U.S. for being too fat has settled his $6 million lawsuit against the airlines, the Daily News has learned.

Janos Soltesz, 57, quietly settled his wrongful death suit against Delta, KLM Royal Dutch and Lufthansa airlines in late August, court documents show.

The suit accused the airlines of having sent his 407-pound wife Vilma "on a debilitating 'wild goose chase' from airline to airline, airport to home, and country to country" that caused her to lose her life in Oct. 2012.

In addition to morbid obesity, Vilma, 56, had a partially amputated leg that left her wheelchair bound, court papers say.

The suit says the couple flew to their native Hungary in Sept. 2012 without issue they bought Vilma two tickets for each leg of the flight but were unceremoniously bounced between three separate airlines in two different countries when they tried to get Vilma home to see her doctor in the States.

Vilma began feeling sick on Oct. 2, but a doctor in Hungary cleared her to fly home as scheduled on Oct. 15.

Her own doctor in New York told her she should come in to his office as soon as she got back so he could "adjust her medication or prescribe new medication," the suit says.

She never made it.

On Oct. 15, the couple went to Budapest Ferihegy International Airport to catch their flight home. But once they got on the KLM plane, "it was discovered that the backs of two seats in their row were broken," so she couldn't maneuver from her wheelchair into the seats, the suit says.

"When informed of the problem, the KLM employees did not offer to change their seats," and told them they had to get off the flight.

They were kept waiting in the airport for five hours, and then told they could fly Delta the next day out of Prague, which was nearly a five-hour drive away, the suit says. "KLM employees assured Janos and Vilma that Delta has been made aware of Vilma's medical condition and her weight, and that there would be no further issues accommodating her for their return flight home," the suit says.

They drove to the airport and arrived seven hours early to make sure there were no problems, the suit says. But when they tried to get on, "it became apparent that Delta did not have an adequate or proper wheelchair to transport Vilma to her seat." They were "forced to disembark" and told "there was nothing more Delta could do for them," the suit says.

They then returned to their vacation home in Preszem, Hungary, and their travel agent lined up a Lufthansa flight for them on Oct. 22. The agent "notified Lufthansa of Vilma's medical condition and weight so that necessary and proper accommodations could be made," the suit says.

She again got her boarding pass, and "several Lufthansa medics and local EMS/Firefighters helped to get Vilma onto the aircraft and into the row of her assigned seats. However, with the boarding of Vilma onto flight LH1335 almost complete, the captain came out of the cockpit andtold Janos and Vilma that they would have to disembark immediately. He stated that 'other passengers need to catch a connecting flight and cannot be delayed further,'" the suit says.

It took a half hour to get Vilma off the plane, the suit says, and she began feeling sicker on their way back to Preszem. Their travel agent told them "she would somehow find a way for them to get home to New York soon," it says.On October 24, "Janos found Vilma dead in her bed," the suit says. It was nine days after she'd been scheduled to see her doctor in The Bronx.

The court action charged the airlines with causing her death, saying they'd shown "a willful, wanton and reckless disregard" for Vilma's safety by having "intentionally refused to make the proper accommodations for her."

The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Soltesz's lawyer and reps for Delta and Lufthansa declined comment. KLM did not respond to requests for comment.
#2  Top Rated Post