Nuts: Tasty Treats, Menace Of The Air, Or An Accurate Description Of The Plaintiff?

Irksome, Law

Long Island ophthalmologist Dr. Tehmina Haque claims she's been traumatized. Maybe so, but no doubt her four-year-old Ryahn will be equally traumatized when he's older. That's because his loving mother has made him the subject of a most shameful civil rights lawsuit against American Airlines.

AA's offense? Failing to keep its flights free of peanuts. Ryahn's injury? None, but he could have been hurt. Perhaps, in the parallel bizarro-universe, he was hurt.

From Newsday:

For the entire flight . . . plaintiff remained fearful, tense and anxious as she watched over her son's every breath and body twitch, concerned that at any moment her son could have an anaphylactic reaction while imprisoned 35,000 feet into the air," read the lawsuit filed Monday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

And that's it. No injuries at all. Tehmina and Ryahn Haque got off their flight from JFK to Los Angeles, then presumably spent an enjoyable vacation kickin' it in Compton or wherever they were headed.

Dr. Haque claims that she was assured right up to the boarding gate that her flight would be peanut-free, but as AA's website points out, that's logistically impossible:

American recognizes that some passengers are allergic to peanuts. Although we do not serve peanuts, we do serve other nut products and there may be trace elements of unspecified peanut ingredients, including peanut oils, in meal and snacks.

We make no provisions to be peanut-free. Additionally, other customers may bring peanuts on board. Therefore, we cannot guarantee customers will not be exposed to peanuts during flight and strongly encourage customers to take all necessary medical precautions to prepare for the possibility of exposure.

Surely as an ophthalmologist, in other words a medical doctor, Dr. Haque has received training at some point in her life on dealing with anaphylaxis, and has heard of the device known to most parents an "epi-pin." She may even own one.

But then she never needed to use it, because she's suing for hypothetical injuries, injuries which never occurred. The risk of which she complains, a flight where others are allowed to eat nuts, can't be controlled without making airline travel even more of a joke than it already is.

Here's hoping American does the right thing and vigorously defends her frivolous lawsuit.

Via Overlawyered.

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Ken  •  Jun 3, 2008 @10:17 am

    I did not start to bleed out the ears as a result of the terminal stupidity and insufferable entitlement of Dr. Haque's suit. But the point is that I could have. Therefore I demand that she pay me ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

  2. Grandy  •  Jun 3, 2008 @10:23 am

    You didn't ask me how I felt about it, Ken; I might have been more seriously injured by the lawsuit than you. I demand that you pay me ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

  3. Rob  •  Jun 3, 2008 @1:44 pm

    Who is more shameful…the doctor suing the airlines over hypothetical injuries or the lawyer who is representing her? That is assuming there is a lawyer involved.

  4. Patrick  •  Jun 3, 2008 @2:01 pm

    Rob, that's like asking whether the gun from which the bullet is fired is worse than the person who squeezes the trigger. Or whether the vicious dog is worse than the owner who fails to train it and keep it fenced.

    A lawyer is only a tool. It should always be handled carefully, and kept out of the hands of the immature, the irresponsible, and the criminal. It should be kept locked up in a secure location at all times unless needed for self-defense.

  5. Ken  •  Jun 3, 2008 @2:54 pm

    And oiled frequently.

  6. Rob  •  Jun 3, 2008 @3:33 pm

    Does it bother you, as lawyers, that there are lawyers who represent what you consider frivolous lawsuits? Or is it a necessary evil for the greater good of the profession?

  7. Patrick  •  Jun 3, 2008 @3:53 pm

    Of course it bothers me Rob. Why do you think that I posted this?

    Does it bother you when someone who does whatever it is that you do does a bad job and it winds up in the media?

    All that said, there are 300 million people in this country, and it's a part of American political culture that in order to avoid stultifying bureaucracy as in Europe or Canada, where they have government commissions that prosecute people for hurting others' feelings, we have numerous lawsuits. Even if you read every day (and I doubt you do, because I don't and I'm interested in the topic professionally) about a frivolous lawsuit, that's a microscopic percentage in a nation as large as the United States of America.

    So yeah, some asshat files a frivolous suit. If I can get to it before the rest of the world to mock the asshat on this blog or a forum, I do. But most (read, almost all) lawsuits aren't frivolous. They're just disputes between people that you never hear about.

    Dog bites man doesn't make the news.

  8. Derrick  •  Jun 3, 2008 @6:05 pm

    "Alternate" spellings of common names are a one way ticket to Doucheland.

    -Derryk

  9. Rebecca  •  Jun 5, 2008 @6:39 am

    Definitely a useless lawsuit. But question? Why do you say that she must have gone out to kick it in Compton? I think there's a racial undertone there. If there is, fyi, the idiot lady isn't black, she's Pakistani or Indian, maybe Middle Eastern or something because she speaks Urdu.

  10. Patrick  •  Jun 5, 2008 @6:48 am

    To be honest Rebecca, I believe she's American, but the Compton reference was not intended to connote a racial overtone. I do not apologize if you were offended.

  11. Greg  •  Jun 5, 2008 @8:40 am

    Ryahn…..That's the first sign that the parent's are self-centered idiots, that feel the world should revolve EXCLUSIVELY around them.

    They can't stand to have a common spelling, oh no there is nothing common about them, they have to be "SPECIAL" and name their son "Ryahn"

    I feel sorry for the child, his mother is an idiot in my opinion.

  12. Jeff  •  Jun 14, 2008 @10:05 pm

    you're all idiots.

  13. Patrick  •  Jun 15, 2008 @11:59 am

    That's probably true Jeff, but so is Dr. Tehmina Haque. Google her. Two months ago, her google profile consisted of research and treatment stories on eye problems, as well as patient evaluations which were generally positive.

    Now it's something rather different,and likely to remain so for the rest of her life.

  14. Protect Allergic Kids  •  Jun 23, 2008 @4:18 am

    Nuts allergies (Anaphylaxis) is a life threatening medical condition. It should be taken seriously. Hundreds of people die a year from accidental exposure. I know cases where they had to do an emergency landing due to a severe reaction. This doctor is not selfish for bringing on the lawsuit. She is standing up for her child's rights and trying to keep her son safe. Wouldn't you do the same if you were a parent? You can have an allergic reaction to touch, smell or even a kiss. Why is it wrong of her to try to get AA to change their policies? Why can't passengers be considerate and eat anything other than nuts? Think about it. It is a child's life.

  15. Patrick  •  Jun 23, 2008 @4:31 am

    Allergic kids, no one was hurt. We certainly don't approve of anaphylactic shock. What we do disapprove of is confabulated frivolous lawsuits seeking money damages where there is no injury.

    Dr. Tehmina Haque could as easily have made her point by writing a letter to the editor, or seeking to raise awareness through the web as you have. She wasn't hurt. Her child wasn't hurt. The only injury is (now) to her reputation.

  16. Protect Allergic Kids  •  Jun 23, 2008 @4:45 am

    Unfortunately, letters don't work. So she had to take a courageous stance and bring on this lawsuit. Parents of allergic kids have tried to write to airlines and politicians to set up precautions for allergic kids. Gets no where. This isn't about money. It is about raising awareness in the media and making a change with the airlines.

  17. Patrick  •  Jun 23, 2008 @5:07 am

    I've seen a lot of lawsuits, Allergic Kids, and those look like "money" allegations to me. Her lawyer also has an interesting history of filing lawsuits you might call "courageous" but that I'd call frivolous.

    And how do you know what Dr. Haque is courageously seeking here? Are you in touch with her? If so, please ask her, or Kenneth Mollins her attorney, to drop by and illuminate us.

  18. Protect Allergic Kids  •  Jun 23, 2008 @6:43 am

    Why does it take something tragic to happen for people to wake up and make a change? Yes, I am in contact with her and forwarded your message. This is not a frivolous lawsuit in my opinion. You should learn more about food allergies before you attack someone's disposition. Go to foodallergy.org

  19. Anastasia  •  Jun 23, 2008 @7:25 am

    This isn't about money or taking away anyone's rights. It is about keeping people as safe as possible. Airlines do not need to serve food which is lethal to many. Obviously other passengers can and will bring peanuts and tree nuts aboard flights. (If you don't know what 'tree nuts' are, then find out.) The difference is that 300+ people won't be opening peanut packages at the same time and having peanut dust being airborne throughout the airplane. If one person is eating a peanutbutter sandwich, the likelyhood of another passenger going anaphylactic is slim. DO you UNDERSTAND the difference? Try at least to get it. I hope that your children do not become anaphylactic to peanuts or tree nuts b/c obviously you would hardly understand nor take it seriously.

  20. Ken  •  Jun 23, 2008 @7:34 am

    Anastasia, I think you've endangered my children. You haven't actually hurt any of them, but the point is you COULD have. Therefore I demand ONE. MILLION. DOLLARS.

  21. Protect Allergic Kids  •  Jun 23, 2008 @8:18 am

    Check out http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/faa-fighting-comes-down-to-peanuts-2008-04-28.html

    It is not a "frivolous" issue if its been on the
    Senate floor TWICE. Perhaps Patrick should blog on how the
    Peanut lobby has a bigger voice than medical experts
    do.

    Also, if he had read the article properly he would
    know that there is no dollar amount on the suit and
    that the lawyer and myself declared that any financial
    settlement would go to FAAN.

    Tell him that anaphylactic food allergy is a federally
    recognized medical disability. And that if civil
    rights activists worried about their reputations,
    America would not what it is today.

  22. Ken  •  Jun 23, 2008 @8:42 am

    Also, if he had read the article properly he would
    know that there is no dollar amount on the suit and
    that the lawyer and myself declared that any financial
    settlement would go to FAAN.

    As any lawyer (or any person minimally literate in the legal system) knows, the fact that a lawsuit does not specify a dollar amount does not mean that the plaintiff is not seeking big bucks. And crowd-pleasing claims that proceeds will be donated to charity are not enforceable. (Don't forget that the lawyer will, of course, get his cut.)

    The wanton thuggery of some people — who think that the entire world should change to accommodate them — is breathtaking.

  23. Patrick  •  Jun 23, 2008 @9:08 am

    "Also, if he had read the article properly he would
    know that there is no dollar amount on the suit and
    that the lawyer and myself declared that any financial
    settlement would go to FAAN."

    If I read your hidden email address (which includes your name, but which I assure you I'll not reveal) properly Protect Allergic Kids, you're not Dr. Tehmina Haque, who decides how any verdict or settlement is divided. Nor are you Kenneth Mollins. So why should I care what you've declared about any financial settlement?

  24. Protect Allergic Kids  •  Jun 23, 2008 @3:28 pm

    My last posting came from the doctor herself. I have nothing left to say on the subject. Thank you.

  25. Patrick  •  Jun 23, 2008 @3:36 pm

    Well gosh, PAK, I don't know to what article you refer, the one I was misreading. You linked to an article from the Hill which contains no such statement, from anyone.

    I believe you're sincere and honest. I believe you're well motivated. I disagree about Dr. Haque and her slimeball lawyer, as I've met too many Kenneth Mollinses to get past my prejudices on the topic. I find your suggestion that I can't understand some journalist's story on a civil lawsuit amusing, as I defend such suits for a living.

    So, as you suggest, we're at an impasse. Have you read the latest police news from Flathead County Montana?