Gay Couple Sued Continental Airlines After Sex Toy Is Taped To Outside Of Their Luggage

There is a bizarre lawsuit this week against Continental Airlines by a gay couple who say that the airline caused them emotional distress after baggage workers removed a dildo and taped it to the outside of their suitcase. Christopher Bridgemann and Martin Borger say that the sex toy was openly displayed to other passengers when they picked up their luggage.

The couple was flying from Costa Rica to Houston on May 21, 2011 when they retrieved their luggage and rechecked their bags onto a flight to Norfolk, Va. As the bags came around the luggage carrier in Norfolk, they saw the toy had been removed from the luggage and was “covered in a greasy foul-smelling substance and taped prominently to the top of their bag.”

According to the complaint:

Plaintiffs were experiencing such a high degree of shock and embarrassment that they felt compelled to call two friends to come to the airport to assist them.Fortunately, the friends arrived and were able to assist plaintiffs out of the airport and to their home, but by that time the damage had already been done, and plaintiffs had suffered severe emotional trauma.

An account from the men can be found on this site.

The Restatement (2nd) of Torts, section 46, states:

One who by extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress to another is subject to liability for such emotional distress, and if bodily harm to the other results from it, for such bodily harm.

That would seem to fit in such a case. There is also the possibility of privacy torts, particularly the public disclosure of embarrassing private fact and inclusion upon seclusion. The later is weakened by the fact that you consent to searches at airport, but the former would appear a viable claim.

Judging from another recent case, they are lucky a note was not also attached to the sex toy.

Source: Daily Mail and NBC

33 thoughts on “Gay Couple Sued Continental Airlines After Sex Toy Is Taped To Outside Of Their Luggage”

  1. Forgetting the tort issues for a moment, the simple cruelty of this prank is outside the pale. As for Jim, I think he packed his empathy and humanity with his luggage. If that was meant to be snark, sport, don’t give up your day job to become a comedian.

  2. ” They were so embarrest , that they had get a friend to get them ” How are they going to handle going to court ?
    I smell the fowl smell of Money.

  3. Why can’t these guys just be proud of what they use? After all they wanted to come out of the closet.

  4. Do people really put jewels in their baggage?
    My loss was peanuts, and was repayed by the airline.
    Never put anything in your bag of value.
    Once upon a time, all Samsonite locks could be opened by those who also had the same brand.

  5. “Reasonable screening…” Well I guess I’m wrong…it isn’t the first time and won’t be the last. I’ just getting old and on occasion I forget what kind of country we live in today….

  6. LK,

    I heard about a guy that worked for American Eagle….. In one month 250k was lifted in jewels…. DFW…..One guy was caught……

  7. Darren,

    FYI….. Baggage handlers have a field day with folks luggage…. From the time that it’s checked until the time it is ready to be picked up with no stops in between… You have the ticket agent (curb check as well), the screening by tsa, back to the airline control, to the tram, to the cargo hold. Then you have from the cargo hold to the tram, to the pickup point….. There’s plenty of time for mischief…. If you really think about it…..

  8. The zipper was not broken and was completely functional. In short, the bag could have been simply zipped closed if no one were seeking to do something in appropriate. And give the foul smelling matter put on the sex toy (to look like fecal matter), it is obvious that what was done was deliberate. I’ve put out more details on my posts on my blog – michael-in-norfolk – and on The Bilerico Project.

  9. I don’t accept the idea the baggage handlers were having a party with the device. Could it also be as plausable the bag’s zipper broke open while in transit and the baggage handlers simply taped it shut and that the dildo being on the top of the clothing just rolled over toward the zipper part and became visible?

    I don’t imagine foul smelling lubricant to be standard issue equipment of baggage handlers either. Maybe for maintenance crews in hangars but baggage crews? no. Where do baggage handlers have time to do all this. Perhaps the bag was the last in the line because the crew had to spend time taping it up.

    What is more likely from a practical standpoint? Could it be that the passengers had previously used it and the lube came from that experience and they just hastilly tossed it into the bag before leaving? OR is it the case the baggage handlers had the time to snoop every bag that was rushed along the conveyer belt, had the time to get a laugh mixing something nasty smelling with a tube of machine oil or grease and then put it in open display for the passengers. I belive the former is more likely.

    I have to also agree with one of the other commenters as to if it was so upsetting for the passengers, which certainly it was granted one of them covered up the bag by holding it to his chest, why would they further cause national attention to the issue by bringing it into the public forum?

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