Cry Havoc, And Let Slip The Dogs Of Law!
The ranks of the Super-Rich are about to expand by one new member – a rather dorky looking Doctor from Chicago.
By this time I’m sure that everyone has heard the story about the fellow who was dragged from an aircraft, beaten, and bloodied by Private Security Officers in Chicago. I hope that the CFO of the Parent Company of United Airlines has a nice new pen handy because he is going to be writing a lot of checks in an attempt to settle a parade of lawsuits that are going to sprout up. Salivating lawyers are lined up and ready to eviscerate the “Friendly Skies.”
While there is plenty of blame to be passed around like a bowl of potato chips there is no way that United Airlines is going to survive in its current form (if at all). The passenger who was dragged from the plane was hardly a threat to the well-being or safety to anyone on the plane. On that point alone the Airline, the Security goons, and O’Hare Airport are all going to be paying through the nose for their part in this mess.
The other night my wife, the lovely and sharp as a tack, Dawn, and I were discussing this incident and how we think it will play out in the courts. My first thought was that, if I was the plaintiff, I would hire the most imaginative and predatory lawyer I could find. The lead character from the TV show “Better Call Saul” came to mind.
In my scenario, not only would I destroy UAL as it is currently, I would insist that the Corporate Officers and Board Members be held financially and personally responsible. They created the Corporate Culture that allowed this debacle to happen. Complete and utter ruin as well as prison time would be a mandatory condition of any settlement.
Over the top? You’re darned right.
My mind sees it thusly: An offer to settle out of court is made for, oh, let’s guess, $100 million AND the dismissal of all Corporate Officers and Board Members. If this is not accepted immediately the details of the suit will call for a figure that would end with the liquidation of the Airline with all proceeds of the liquidation to go to the good Doctor. This would make him one seriously wealthy dude.
Not forgetting the UAL employees who would lose their jobs – a portion of the liquidation proceeds, as well as the personal assets of Corporate Officers and Board Members, would be set aside to immediately begin payment of all vested retirement pensions for the employees not directly culpable in the lawsuits.
The only way to pull this off would be to make sure that all proceedings are public and decided by juries and not judges alone.
Does all of this sound like I’m a touch bitter? You bet your habeas corpus I am. I believe that happenings like this are the result of a corporate culture, where both the company, and far too many employees, look upon the customers as cargo rather than the very source of their livelihood.
It may take something like this and the financial Hiroshima that is about to fall on UAL to change the way things are done. The utter destruction of a major company might be needed to bring about a renaissance of a customer oriented business model.
Until then, Happy Hunting, Doc, and make sure you get a lifetime supply of those little foil packets of peanuts.
I will now move my Soap Box back into the garage.