By Ju-min Park
A flight attendant at the centre of a “nut rage” case that resulted in the daughter of the Korean Air Lines chairman being sentenced to jail has filed a civil lawsuit against her in New York, the attendant’s lawyers have said.
Heather Cho, the airline’s former head of in-flight service and daughter of chairman Cho Yang-ho, was sentenced to a year in jail last month after she was found guilty of violating aviation law over an on-board incident New York’s John F. Kennedy airport on Dec. 5.
She had demanded the flight crew chief be expelled from the plane because she was upset over the way she had been served macadamia nuts and ordered the plane to return to its gate after it had started to taxi. The incident attracted international headlines and triggered scorn and outrage at home.
The suit, which also lists the airline as a defendant, was filed on Monday. It claims that Heather Cho screamed obscenities at flight attendant Kim Do-hee, hit, shoved, and threatened her.
The Weinstein Law Firm PLLC and Kobre & Kim LLP said in an emailed statement on Wednesday they were confident Cho would be found responsible “for the extensive damage that she has caused to Ms. Kim’s career, reputation, and emotional well-being”.
The statement did not specify the amount of damages being sought by Kim.
Neither Cho’s lawyer nor Korean Air could be reached for comment about the suit.
Cho has resigned from her posts at the airline and its subsidiaries in the face of public anger over her behaviour, a raw subject in a country whose economy is dominated by family-run conglomerates know as chaebol.
She has appealed against her conviction.
Kim testified tearfully in court that Cho had became abusive as she confronted the crew about service, shouting at them as they kneeled on the floor.
Kobre & Kim said in the statement the flight attendant Kim had lodged the suit because Cho and Korean Air had not responded to attempts to reach a settlement.