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. Send the dildo to the LAPD which is under scrutiny in an aricle above or to the Twin Cities pig force.

  2. Some of you miss the whole point of this, unless things have changed since I last flew checked in baggage, that is baggage that I don’t carry on isn’t checked by tsa. Therefore we have a situation of someone or many Continental employees going thru my luggage or your luggage.. While Mr Erb may not think its important I for one take my privacy seriously, and I hope they stick it to the airlines enough so no other airline employee ever wants to roam thru anyone’s luggage.

    1. Actually cowboy is wrong on most points. Fist off, you do NOT have any “rights” or privacy when you board an aircraft. You and your luggage is subject to reasonable screening, and in fact, Untied has screening machines at the check in counter for checked bags. The fact is that since this was an international flight, I can take it for granted that they WILL inspect all bags coming from south of the border especially. It was obvious that the bag went through screening, and they saw the odd object and went into the bag to verify its identiy.

      For other flights the baggage handlers simply don’t have the time to open bags just for grins and giggles. If you want your privacy preserved greater, then charter your own flight and crew, but even then the flight crew will still have the right to open your bags to check for prohibited items.

      I jumpseater with an Alaskan Airlines pilot who was working the flight where a bag was thrown abourd his flight, and exploded. Turns out a 60 year old granny packed her 45 in her bag, and when it was thrown on board, the chambered round went off. He said he did not hear the gun going off, but that he went back into the cabin and saw the bullet hole in the ceiling when the bullet had come up from the floor and out the plane. THIS is the reason you do NOT have an expectation of privacy with your bags. It is too bad Alaska did not do a better job of openning bags and screening. It only cost them a LOT more than what there two fools will get.

  3. from the link:
    ‘The image above shows what this couple’s bag looked like as it circulated around the luggage carousel before an entire plane load of travelers in their conservative home city’s airport. The fact that the bag was deliberately sabotaged is confirmed by the fact that the zippers on the bag continue to be fully functional and the bag can be securely sealed without any difficulty. That’s right. Someone opened the bag, extracted the “toy” and then taped it to the outside of the bag with clear “Continental” tape. Oh, and did I mention that some type of lubricant was smeared on the toy in order to insinuate that it had just been used? ‘
    it would appear that someone working for the airlines was having a party with the contents and personal belongings of these passengers. To top of the piggish behavior they ensured the embarrassment of the passengers. And any other witnesses that happened to be present in the baggage area when the luggage became visible.[and I don’t think the passengers ‘gayness’ had anything to do with what happened…] . So I get that you can’t legislate class, but I’d prefer that this sort of criminal trespass into other peoples personal belongings not be belittled as somehow being ok, just boisterous, ‘boys will be boys’ behaviour…..[those cretins could grow up to be rapin’ repuglicans!]. It was also destruction of personal property….

  4. The post says the airline is being sued. Do they go through luggage? It doesn’t say the TSA is being sued (Jesse Ventura tried that and it doesn’t work–they are unsuable)! What reason would an airlines have for searching baggage, if it has been searched by the TSA?

    And give me a break! They called their FRIENDS??? Looks to me like they caused their own ”severe emotional trauma” over the whole thing.

  5. This is indeed absurd. They have taken a case of being embarrassed in front of some STRANGERS, and made it into a story spread around the country, thus increasing their ostensible “emotional distress” by their own hand(s). And the drama of their not being able to get themselves home; give me a break!

    And as others have pointed out, it’s far from clear that any intentional harm was done by the airline employees, rather than a malfunction of their baggage combined with unfortunate placement of their play toy.

    Get over it boys.

  6. I find the comments on posts like this very interesting when contrasted against others like the woman drowning while having her wedding pics taken or the woman who suffered third degree burns when sitting on a black marble bench outside Cowboy stadium. Seems like many think this case merits a large verdict while the other two mentioned are frivolous. Myself, I can see possible liability in the dildo case. But, it’s really hard for me to imagine a huge verdict under any circumstances. I mean, how much mental anguish can you possibly suffer because some strangers see that you have a dildo? Embarrassing? Yes. Life altering? No. Here’s a $100 andyou’ve probably been overcompensated. On the other hand, the other cases may well be more difficult cases to win on liability, but the damages are significant and at least have the potential for a large verdict.

  7. I don’t understand why they had to have friends come help them? Grab the bag and get out of the airport. I also don’t understand why they didn’t take a picture of it until they got home (as judging by the bedsheets.)

    I’d like to know whether or not the zipper is broken and just how they packed their suitcase (e.g. was the toy on top of everything.) I’d also like to know what the ‘foul smelling greasy substance’ on the toy actually was.

    I want to believe them, but in a recent spate of homosexuals contriving situations and/or flat out making them up…its unfortunately harder for me to fully believe the situation.

  8. Maybe TSA thought it was an RPG. My sense tells me this may be a contrived attempt to sue either TSA or the airline, both being disliked by the public. Of course I’m skeptical by profession

  9. How does one quantify the “humiliation”? I guess that since he was in tears, he should count the number and put a price on that, say about $50,000/tear. If I were on the jury, I would award one dollar for damages. This is truly silly. Who cares what others thought since they were all strangers and they would never see them again. It is also a bit absurd, since most gays tend to advertise their sexual preferences. It is not as though they are not out of the closet.

  10. I believe Darren may be right. The zipper definitely appears broken, and the picture shows that the band of tape on the left side of the bag does not even touch the sex toy, but simply wraps around the bag, as if to hold it closed. While the issue will probably settle, it would be interesting to see if workers came forth with the story that this was not intentional and that the toy was just poorly placed inside the bag by the passengers.

  11. Should I ever decide to chance a TSA groping, I’ll be sure to mail my dildo on ahead.

  12. When I first looked at the picture, it seemed the zipper had failed since the active part is in the middle of the bag and is open on both sides of it. I wondered if the tape was there to tie the bag closed. I don’t know if this was the case.

    Even if the zipper had failed, at least the airline should have moved the dildo underneath the clothing to hide it to save the passenger from embarassment.

    If it was the case the baggage handlers crafted this as the paintiffs allege. The airline had better settle the case and make this go away.

  13. I recall reading of an incident where luggage was being searched and the TSA screener pulled out a dildo and waved it around, announcing. “Look at this.” The woman traveler was mortified.

    One of my colleagues (female) was on a business trip and instead of getting a simple patdown from the woman TSA screener, she was groped, literally. The TSA screener looking up at her grinning as she bent over and lovingly groped my colleague’s groin area. My colleague later said that although she had never been the victim of a sex crime, that particular screening came awfully close.

  14. Mega settlement. Perhaps women flying on continental can now await their luggage appearance, apprehensive of their “unmentionable finerys” prominently taped and arranged on the outside of their luggage.
    So stupid, only a cave man could this.
    Maybe the offending worker can get a job as janitor at the westboro church.

  15. Where do they sue — Texas? Virginia? Wherever corporate headquarters are located? State of incorporation? Not sure whether Texas recognizes section 46 liability, although Houston might prove to be a favorable location. But Norfolk??

  16. I’m glad you sense a settlement rather than feel one coming dredd….

Comments are closed.