How is this for a tort lawsuit? Artie Hughes says that he enjoying an evening on his deck in Malverne, New York when he and his wife were covered by human waste. A plane taking off from Kennedy airport had released the sludge in taking off.
Police confirmed a plane’s bathroom leaked the waste upon take off. Let’s count the torts, shall we?
First, there is obviously negligence since it is pretty unreasonable to dump human waste from a great height (or any height) on bystanders. While planes have been treated as an ultrahazardous activity (a rather dated view), this is not the risk that makes the activity abnormally dangerous and would not be a valid basis for strict liability. There could however at a negligent per se claim if the airline violated regulations in the maintenance or operation of the aircraft.
Second, there is negligent infliction of emotional distress given the outrageous aspect of this tort. This horrific scene brings to mind the people in Chicago who suddenly found themselves covered in waste after passing under a bridge. It turned out that the bus driver for the Dave Matthews Band decided to release the contents of the sewage tank over the river, not realizing a sightseeing boat was underneath.
Third, there is the possibility (though unlikely) tort of battery. While there is no intent, there could be an argument of substantial certainty in this case.
The question is whether they will be able to establish the aircraft and company. If so, I would recommend a quick settlement.