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Local attorney representing plaintiffs against Southwest Airlines addresses class-action suit

Lawsuit was filed on Friday December 30, 2022.
Winter Weather Los Angeles
Posted at 8:26 AM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-04 11:49:53-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Attorney Alex Dychter, who is representing two San Diegans suing Southwest Airlines over last week's travel meltdown, spoke to ABC 10News about the legal action taken against the carrier.

“It’s alleged as a class-action lawsuit. Meaning, we are alleging this case for any passengers who purchased travel for Southwest Airlines at any time between December 18th, 2022, and present date, whose flight was canceled during that same time period,” Dychter said.

As ABC 10News previously reported, Carla Hill claims Southwest took the money she spent to fly her son to and from Columbus, Ohio, even though the airline knew it would never happen.

And Cameron Youssef blames Southwest for him and his spouse getting stuck in Tennessee.

“He has unfortunately missed a few days of work, which is also a part of the problem with this issue,” Dychter said.

The lawsuit, filed in San Diego County, asks for money for people who had problems with their flights. It also wants Southwest to publicly admit it knew it was inevitable its operations would collapse.

“We’re going to get to the bottom of why this occurred. And we’re not going to allow the narrative that weather was the issue to predominate the story,” Dychter said.

ABC 10News spoke to Kurt Ebenhoch, a former airline executive and traveler advocate, upon learning of the suit on Monday.

Ebenhoch said these kinds of lawsuits can run into hurdles if they are filed with the state court due to a previous interpretation of a law which was passed many years ago.

"That judge basically said that if there's anything that involves interstate business; interstate travel, the state courts aren't available to consumers,” Ebenhoch said.

He added in his Monday interview that federal courts are the only legal remedy.

ABC 10News asked Dychter about what that person said, and he said they’re correct.

"Southwest Airlines is more than entitled to remove our case to federal court should they so choose. On some occasions in my experience, some Defendants choose to keep cases in state court,” Dychter said. "We shall see what Southwest decides to do."

The attorney for the two San Diegans said they filed in San Diego Superior Court based on where their clients live, where they booked their flights out of San Diego and Southwest having, what he said, a 40 percent of the market share of air travel in San Diego.