Adkisson Pitet LLP Files Suit on Behalf of Former NHL Player Against American Airlines

by Christopher Pitet September 12, 2021

Former NHL player Jean-Francois Jomphe says an "out-of-control" American Airlines flight attendant delivered a hit and then got him unfairly ejected from a flight, according to a new federal lawsuit.

Jean-Francois Jomphe, who skated for the Anaheim Ducks in the 1990s, was set for a business trip July 22 from Kansas City, Missouri, to Phoenix, Arizona. He says flight attendant Mario Labault hit him on the shoulder then got the pilot to boot him from the plane before takeoff on "some fabricated claim that he was being 'disruptive,'" according to a complaint filed in U.S. district court in California.

The complaint notes the "regrettable" rise in unruly airline passengers, but says Jomphe's case "arises from conduct on commercial flights that often does not make the news — extreme and outrageous conduct by out-of-control flight attendants."

The former center says he'd recently undergone leg surgery, and was keeping things elevated by resting his foot on a plane wall when Labault "hit Jomphe very hard on his left shoulder" without provocation and instructed him to remove his foot.

Jomphe, now a businessman, says he took the flight weekly for work — often booking the same exact seat — but had never been warned about putting his feet up.

He nonetheless complied, and claims Labault rudely responded "because I said so" when Jomphe intimated he'd undergone surgery and asked why he had to move his foot, according to the suit.

Minutes later, another American employee who is not a named defendant in the suit asked Jomphe to step off the plane and then explained that he was being removed from the flight because "he did not respect Federal Aviation Administration rules," the complaint says.

American put Jomphe on another flight from Kansas City to Dallas to Orange County, California, but he was unable to make it to Phoenix in time for his meetings that day, court papers say.

The "unprovoked battery" and ejection has left Jomphe suffering "physical pain to his left shoulder, extreme embarrassment and emotional distress and substantial damage to his company's business," according to his complaint.

He's seeking at least $100,000, as well as exemplary damages and attorney fees.

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Christopher Pitet
Christopher Pitet