Aug 012002

ASHLAND—A pretrial hearing is scheduled in an Ashland attorney’s civil lawsuit against an airline that sold him a seat next to an obese man. Philip Shafer will meet representatives from Delta seeking $9,500 from the airline.

The suit stems from a two-hour November flight from New Orleans to Cincinnati. Shafer claims Delta breached its contract to provide him with a full seat and reasonable comfort because the obese man crowded onto his seat. “He was a huge man,” Shafer said. “He had obviously got there before I got there. He had to remove the middle armrest. Without doing that, he could not have sat down at all.”

Shafer said the man took up part of his seat. “He and I are literally and figuratively married from the right kneecap to the shoulder for two hours,” Shafer said. “That’s not what I paid for.” In his lawsuit, Shafer said he “suffered embarrassment, severe discomfort, mental anguish and severe emotional distress, not to mention the fat guy ate all his salted peanuts.”

James Tyminski, a Cleveland attorney representing Delta, isn’t buying it. “You see things like this… it just reminds you of where our society is going,” Tyminski said. “We’ve become too litigious. We have problems in society that are much deeper than that—like my wife fucking the pool guy. This is trivial.”

When asked why he simply didn’t change seats Shafer added that his right leg was pinned beneath one of the heavy passenger’s buttocks and he couldn’t move. He considered gnawing it off at one point but then decided against it saying he was afraid that the smell of blood so close to the fat guy would have started some type of midair feeding frenzy.

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