United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss Pursuant to 12(b)(6), [Doc. No. 11]. Plaintiffs
oppose the Motion. For the reasons set forth below, the
Motion will be granted.
purposes of the Motion to Dismiss, the following facts, taken
from Plaintiff's petition, are taken as true.
plaintiffs' minor daughter suffered injuries in a car
wreck that left her paralyzed and required to use a
wheelchair. Plaintiffs' daughter used a common electric
December of 2016, the Schmidt family was scheduled to go on a
vacation that included a Disney Cruise. They were to fly on
United from St.
to Houston and then, after their vacation, back from Houston
to St. Louis.
Schmidt family's travel arrangements had them leaving St.
Louis on December 23, 2016.
December 9 and again on December 16, Mr. Schmidt called
United and spoke with a member of the customer care staff
about needing to stow the electric wheelchair on the
airplane. He told United about the wheelchair and was
repeatedly assured that United "deals with this all of
the time" and was told not to worry. United never asked
for the make and model of the wheelchair.
the Schmidt family arrived at the United desk at Lambert on
December 23, they again asked about the wheelchair. Again,
they were told not to worry. After seeing the wheelchair, no
one from United ever commented that there was anything
unusual or unforeseeable about it.
the minor child's disability, the Schmidt family was
pre-boarded on their flight. After the plane was loaded, Mr.
Schmidt was told he was going to have to help the baggage
handlers load the wheelchair. In front of all of the
passengers, he was escorted off the plane and taken down on
to the tarmac to help load the wheelchair onto the plane. Mr.
Schmidt helped the baggage handlers lift the 400 pound
wheelchair up onto the conveyor belt ramp. He then helped the
baggage handlers guide the wheelchair up the ramp, only to
find that it would not fit under the jet engine.
baggage handlers did not have any idea how to handle the
situation. Mr. Schmidt told everyone they needed to partially
disassemble the wheelchair to get it into the cargo hold. A
tool kit was found, but not before a United employee angrily
confronted Mr. Schmidt for being on the tarmac. Once that
situation was resolved, Mr. Schmidt partially disassembled
the wheelchair and helped the baggage handlers get the chair
in the cargo hold.
Mr. Schmidt was escorted back to the plane, which was now an
hour late taking off. He was jeered and booed by some of the
passengers on the plane.
arriving at Houston, the baggage handlers were able to unload
the wheelchair without involving Mr. Schmidt. However, Mr.
Schmidt had to help the baggage crew remove the wheelchair
from the conveyor and then, wait for nearly an hour while
United personnel found the tools needed to reassemble it.
days into their vacation, the wheelchair began to malfunction
due to damage sustained on the flight from St. Louis to
that they were out at sea and there was not a replacement
wheelchair available, Mr. Schmidt did what he could to keep
the wheelchair functional for his daughter. The
malfunctioning wheelchair caused significant problems and