JUSTICE

Former Jazzman suing United Airlines for discrimination

Dec 4, 2018, 8:32 AM | Updated: 8:54 am

NEW YORK CITY — A former Jazz point guard is suing United Airlines for $10 million, alleging racial bias and discrimination.

In a lawsuit filed in US District Court in New York, Eric Murdock, who played with Karl Malone and John Stockton, says he asked to sit in an emergency row for the extra leg-room on a United flight from Las Vegas to Newark.

The court filing claims Murdock and another passenger, Brenda Williams, were “discriminated against, harassed, and humiliated by one of [United Airlines’] flight attendants, an unidentified woman” who is referred to in the court filing as Jane Doe.

In the lawsuit, Murdock claims he and his son were assigned separate seats, when he noticed two empty seats in the exit row behind him, and asked whether they could be seated there. A flight attendant who is not the one accused of discrimination told him if no other ticketed passenger had purchased the seats, he could move, but he would have to pay for an upgrade. Murdock says he offered to do so, but was told he could not because he would have to do so at the counter, and the cabin door was already closed.

A ticketed passenger then appeared and offered to move seats so Murdock and his son could sit in the exit row, with approval from that flight attendant, the lawsuit states.

It was after that seat exchange that the flight attendant referred to as Jane Doe in the suit is accused of demanding Murdock move back to his assigned seat. After an exchange in which passengers explained the seat trade, Murdock and his son returned to their original seats.

Later in the flight, however, the suit claims a white woman moved into the exit row, but was not challenged by Jane Doe, and even received beverage service there. Murdock says that’s when he also moved back to the exit row.

He then claims the flight attendant told him to move back to his original seat, but not the white woman.

Williams, who is described in the lawsuit as being concerned about Jane Doe’s actions, asked the flight attendant why she was being rude to Murdock. She says Jane Doe accused her of recording the confrontation on her phone, even though Williams repeatedly insisted she was not recording.

“Erase the video now, or give me your phone!” the flight attendant said, according to the lawsuit. “It’s against the law to record me!”

The lawsuit goes on to say that during the beverage service, Jane Doe asked Murdock if he wanted a beverage or if he was “going to boycott,” a reference to Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a bus in 1955, setting off a bus boycott that eventually helped lead to desegregation of buses.

When the flight landed at Newark, Murdock and Williams, who did not know each other before the flight, say they were escorted off the plane first and met by armed Transportation Security Administration agents. They say they were interviewed, but allowed to get their bags and leave afterward.

In a statement released to multiple media outlets, United says it is looking into what happened and has “zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”

Today’s Top Stories

Justice

A former American Fork soccer coach is under arrest and facing six felony counts of child sexual ab...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Former American Fork soccer coach arrested on charges of child sexual abuse

The suspect arrested on charges of child sexual abuse was reportedly a soccer coach for the UC Strikers and Utah FC junior teams, between 2000 and 2014, according to American Fork Police.
1 day ago
Eli Mitchell, victim of fatal hit and run...
Mark Jones

Utah County man pleads guilty to death of West Jordan teenager

A Saratoga Springs man pleaded guilty Tuesday in Third District Court of automobile homicide in connection to the death of a 13-year-old West Jordan teenager last April.
2 days ago
FILE: Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes appears on a video screen above members of the Select Com...
LINDSAY WHITEHURST, ALANNA DURKIN RICHER and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN

Oath Keepers boss guilty of seditious conspiracy in 1/6 case

A Washington, D.C., jury found Rhodes guilty of sedition after three days of deliberations in the the nearly two-month-long trial
2 days ago
homeless shelters and Homelessness in Utah...
Alejandro Lucero

Utah official says better coordination could help with homelessness

Homelessness continues to grow in big cities across the U.S., and Salt Lake City is not an enigma. Could focusing on mental health help curb the trend?
2 days ago
Hand-written messages cover the heart attached to the cross to honor a victim of the mass shooting ...
COLLEEN SLEVIN, THOMAS PEIPERT, JESSE BEDAYN and BRITTANY PETERSON

Colorado gay club shooting suspect held without bail

The alleged shooter facing possible hate crime charges in the fatal shooting of five people at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub was ordered held without bail in an initial court appearance Wednesday.
8 days ago
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 21: Police Chief Adrian Vasquez gives an update about the Clu...
Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Suspect in the Colorado Springs LGBTQ club shooting is slated to appear in court today as prosecutors work to finalize formal charges

The hearing will include "the advisement of the arrest charges as well as advisement of bond conditions," according to Colorado's Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Former Jazzman suing United Airlines for discrimination