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Man Crawls Off Plane: Delta Sued by Paralyzed Man for Treatment

By Ken Mandel   |   Friday, 02 Aug 2013 03:10 PM

A partially paralyzed man who claimed he was forced to crawl on and off a plane and across the tarmac because he wasn't provided with the equipment he needed to board and exit the flights is suing Delta Airlines

D. Baraka Kanaan, 40, filed a discrimination lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Hawaii last month against Delta and 20 of the carrier's employees and agents, alleging "appallingly outrageous treatment" by staff during two separate flights in July 2012, according to ABC News.

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Kanaan said he endured "intense physical and extreme emotional suffering" during his flight to Nantucket, Mass., and on a flight back to Maui, Hawaii, two days later.

Kanaan, who suffered his paralysis in a 2000 car accident, said in the lawsuit that he called Delta airlines weeks in advance to request an aisle seat and a lift to help him into his wheelchair. An agent agreed, but he was told when he landed at Nantucket Airport that there was no equipment available.

As a result, Kanaan was "forced to crawl down the aisle of the airplane, down the stairs of the aircraft and across the tarmac to his wheelchair without any assistance," according to the complaint.

After reporting the problem, Kanaan was assured that it wouldn't happen for the return trip, but it happened again on the flight to Hawaii. The difference the second time around was "a piece of cardboard was put down so his clothes wouldn't get dirty," the suit said.

Delta Airlines declined to comment on the pending lawsuit.

Citing the Air Carrier Access Act, the suit alleges that the airline is required to provide passengers with necessary equipment when requested.

"Just a year before, Delta received no less than 5,000 complaints against it and was ordered to pay recordbreaking fines for its persistent 'egregious' mistreatment of disabled passengers," the suit said.

Kanaan's attorney, Richard Holcomb, told ABC News that his story is helping shed light on the numerous ways disabled people are mistreated at the airport and on airlines.
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