Why Does American Airlines Need To Examine The Gynecological Records Of Crash Victim's Daughter?

This has to be the weirdest press release we’ve ever read, and that’s really saying something.

The lawyer for the family of a woman killed in the American Airlines Flight 587’s crash on November 12, 2001 has issued a press release claiming that American Airlines is demanding to examine the “gynecological records of the daughter of a woman killed on American Airlines Flight 587 who was 16 years-old at the time of her mother’s death.” (Emphasis ours.)

How completely weird. They’re also requesting the counseling records of the daughter, who is now 21 and married. We’re not sure which is weirder, American Airlines wanting to look at your PAP test or your lawyer writing a press release about it. Regardless, it’s pretty damn creepy. Maybe they think plane crashes are genetic? Or maybe they’re just doing research for the next iteration of AA.com/women. —MEGHANN MARCO

American Airlines Demands Gynecological Records of Victim’s Teenage Daughter (Press Release)
[News Release Wire]
(Photo: marada)

Comments

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  1. KernelPanic says:

    unbelievable.

    KP

  2. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    Maybe for some twisted reason this is only half the story. Maybe she received some huge settlement from AA and there are come kind of wacko terms on the money.. Who knows in this day in age..smells..i mean…sounds fishy..

  3. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    *some*

  4. nweaver says:

    What it probably is is looking for grist for the jury trial to try to make the plaintiff seem less syphatethic and thus less likely to get a large punitive damage award.

  5. informer says:

    My best guess: she is trying to get some mental distress money out of AA, and they trying to prove she was distressed before her mother died?

    Who knows.

  6. facted says:

    It’s possible she may have received extra money if she was pregnant at the time…or something along those lines.

  7. esqdork says:

    I suspect that it may have something to do with the claims made by the victim’s family. For example, if the victim’s family is making some claim for not ever having grandchildren because their daughter was on the flight, then AA has the right to at least learn whether she was able to have kids. But who really knows. I think it’s also disgusting that the family chose to issue a press release rather than trying to quietly get a protective order from the court.

  8. esqdork says:

    Whoops, I meant mom, not daughter. I also meant more kids.

    I should read these things more carefully.

  9. nickripley says:

    IANAL, although I work for several, and I am wondering if there is some kind of claim that says the trauma to the daughter from the passenger’s death caused some sort of reaction? Maybe they are claiming she got pregnant or something because of this? The airline could be doing something legitimate… but it’s also weird to me as to why the attourney for the family issued this press release, unless it was to focus attention away from his client.

  10. Trick says:

    It could also just be a “blame the *real* rape victim” scam to shut the lady up.

    Your honor, this slut doesn’t deserve any money, she was giving it away for free at the age 16 and here is the medical records to prove it…

  11. luckybob343 says:

    A civil suit is not mentioned directly, but given that the daughter has an attorney there is no doubt that one has been filed. The most likely scenario for the defense requests are:

    Gyno records – In a civil suit for wrongful death, damages can be based on “future earning potential.” Checking the daughter’s gyno records could feasibly show hereditary life-limiting factors that could be used to counter the mother’s future earnings estimates submitted by the plaintiff. The daughter could also be claiming some physical ailments (inability to perform sexually since the accident is always a popular claim for female plaintiffs) that require medical proof.

    Counseling records – To collect damages for severe emotional distress, most jurisdictions require some evidence that the plaintiff suffered measurable emotional harm. Here, the records from her counselor could be used by the plaintiff to show emotional distress.

  12. sam says:

    Putting on my lawyer hat here (rather than my totally appalled at the situation hat), the only thing I can think of is that the plaintiffs are claiming some sort of mental and/or physical distress to the daughter as a direct result of the loss of her mother, and AA wants the records so that they can either see if such claim is possibly true or if she had pre-existing conditions that mitigate AA’s responsibility.

    I.e., I experienced a situation of extreme stress when I was younger that actually caused my body to stop producing certain hormones, and I had to go on hormone replacement therapy for a brief time to “fix” things. It’s possible that the gyno records request is completely reasonable if something like this is part of the claim.

  13. Buran says:

    Me I’d tell them no, and they can’t just demand medical records. That sort of thing is under doctor-patient confidentiality rules.

    I would guess that the press release is a form of public shaming of a corporation doing something unacceptable.

  14. madktdisease says:

    I think a lot of people here are confused. The mother, a middle aged woman, died on the flight. The daughter, then 16, is the one who they are requesting the records of. I would absolutely go for a press release if such absurd information was being requested. We have the right to know the lengths to which companies go to fight lawsuits.

  15. cncpun says:

    @Buran:

    Do you really think AA would go through all this if there wasn’t a valid reason. I am pretty sure we are not getting the full story here. As everyone else mentioned she is probably trying to claim something that AA thinks is b.s.

  16. SadSam says:

    @Buran:

    Sure they can, if daughter — or more likely daughter’s attorney — has put her health (physical or mental at issue) then the company is entitled to her medical and mental health records. If daughter is claiming damages related to emotional stress (counseling records are at issue) if daughter is claiming damages related to physical health (all medical records are at issue).

  17. plim says:

    Everyone is overlooking the obvious answer: this is part of the “request your medical records” surcharge.

  18. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    AA is stalling to prevent the lawsuit from going through so they don’t have to cough up the money. That’s all there is to it. Slimy little weasels…they don’t take any responsibility for anything.

  19. spanky says:

    The PR focuses on the daughter, but it goes on to say that they’re also requesting:

    All counseling records for all members of the victim’s family, from five years prior to the crash to the present.

    Counseling records for the victim’s daughter’s now husband.

    All counseling and medical records, including gynecological records, of the victim, for the five years leading up to the crash.

    I’m not quite going to jump to conclusions, but it seems pretty hinky that they’re casting such a broad net. (And it seems likely the airline was just requesting medical records, and the PR is highlighting the daughter’s gynecological records because it points up the sleaze factor.)

  20. Sorenso says:

    damn, what are they going to ask for next, a sample of her spinal fluid and a tissue sample from her ovary? Shit AA, get a grip.

  21. faust1200 says:

    Once at altitude the body can experience a differential in pressure. Therefore her acute vaginosis asphyxiated the flight crew.

  22. major disaster says:

    I don’t have much to add that hasn’t already been said – I’d guess the reason they’re asking is that the family is claiming some sort of mental and/or physical distress.

    One other minor point – I’m pretty sure the husband referred to in the press release is the victim’s husband, not the daughter’s (given that he’s in Sunnyvale and the daughter is in LA, plus the fact that they all have the same last name).

  23. spanky says:

    @major disaster:

    You’re right. I totally misread the husband thing.

  24. major disaster says:

    Also, rereading the press release, the only thing they’re asking for from the daughter and the husband (the daughter’s father) are the counseling records, which would not be surprising at all if they’re claiming emotional distress – they want to know if they might have had emotional problems before the mother’s (wife’s) death. (That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t fight it, but it’s really not all that surprising that AA would ask for it.)

    The medical and gynocological records are only being asked for in the case of the victim herself. As was mentioned before, you can get damages in a wrongful death suit based on projected future earnings. The description of this woman’s job makes it sound like she probably earned quite a lot of money. AA might be trying to lower the potential damages by looking to see if she had any medical problems that might have shortened her life, in which case they might not be liable for as much. Like, say, if they could show she had cancer and was going to die in a year anyway. If that’s what they doing, my guess would be that they’re probably just fishing and don’t have any basis for thinking she might have been ill, but who knows.

  25. major disaster says:

    Okay, one more comment – the press release actually contradicts itself (geez, say what you will about laywers, but one thing they should be good at is avoiding ambiguity). The first paragraph says they want to they gyno records of the daughter (which is where the quote above in the original post came from). But the second paragraph only refers to them asking for those records from the mother (the “decedent”). I suspect the second paragraph is the correct one, and the first paragraph is either stupidity or sensationalisim, because the second paragraph makes a lot more sense within the context of this type of lawsuit.

  26. major disaster says:

    Actually, now I’m not sure if what I said was correct – in fact it might be true that they are asking for the gyno records of the daughter all (damn those little words like “also” that I skim right over). Each time I reread the thing, I see something different and change my mind. In any case, whatever they are asking for, it’s most likely related to some sort of claim of emotional distress and/or physical manifestations thereof being made by the daughter.

    Also, as to why the lawyers would release a press release? Presumably it’s to shame AA into backing down. Obviously they’re looking for exactly the response they’re getting here – the “OMG that’s so horrible! How could AA do that??” They presumably want AA to decide the negative publicity isn’t worth pushing the issue.

  27. digitalgimpus says:

    Wow, I really wonder what that could be about.

    Do they want some nude pics too?

    If I were her, I’d fight that all the way… this just doesn’t sound right.

  28. Libelous1 says:

    The real question is why the plaintiffs felt the need to make this public. If AA’s claim was illegitimate under the law and applicable court rules, then the court will strike it. End of story. More likely, the request is VALID, and the plaintifs’ lawyers think they can get sympathy votes from the public, even if they can’t win in court. The fight is not over who is right and wrong, it is about one thing and one thing only: the money. They are just fighting about how much. The plaintiffs are demanding far too much and AA is offering far too little. Eventually, they will reach a middle ground, the amount will be paid, and the parties will part ways. At least, that’s what happens in the vas majority of cases.

  29. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    I assume the daughter is a plaintiff. They are trying to humiliate, demean, and embarrass her into settling for some piddling sum so that it doesn’t go to a jury trial. Absolutely pathetic conduct, but you could look into the claims settlement practices of most insurance companies and find the same thing going on.

  30. FishingCrue says:

    Does anyone think it’s just an overzealous law clerk / junior associate trying to make the broadest discovery request possible so there will be more boxes to wade through and more billables to charge the client?

    Focus: If you put health at issue in a lawsuit, be prepared for discovery bordering on abusive.

  31. Mr. Gunn says:

    ScramDiggyBooBoo: lol freudipwned!

  32. Buran says:

    @SadSam: This is not the person who was on the flight. This is a relative of the person who was on the flight.

    It would be like some megacorp demanding my medical records if my mother was killed in an automobile accident.

  33. Buran says:

    @major disaster: Nope. Very first sentence: “American Airlines insists that it needs to examine all gynecological records of the daughter …”

  34. Kalik says:

    Maybe the daughter is claiming that she suffered a miscarriage due to distress caused by the accident and AA want to make sure that she really was pregnant and not making up the story?

  35. major disaster says:

    @Buran: Yes, I already figured that out, if you read the last of my comments.

    And regarding your previous comment, yes, we know it’s the relative of the person on the flight. The most likely theory, which many here have stated, is that the daughter is probably claiming emotional and/or physical distress due to the death of her mother. And that is presumably why AA wants the daughter’s records.

  36. Red_Eye says:

    Maybe they are trying to pull a defense that a popular insurance company uses, “the crash was not an accident”. Trying to prove that the girl was sexual active, had jilted the pilot and he purposely crashed the plane so the accidental death clause for the insurance doesn’t apply.

  37. shdwsclan says:

    Why in the world, would they need that much data……
    Why the next thing you know, men need to give a sperm sample before boarding the plane….

  38. TinaT says:

    Gyno records going back 5 years? How many 11 year olds have a gynocologist?

  39. ne0shell says:

    I’m amazed at the number of readers who obviously did nto read the article nor the other comments prior to posting. The daughter WAS NOT ON THE PLANE – her Mother was and her Mother died. ALl the post speculating about the daughters sexuality and so on being a cause for the crash are not funny, (and I have a liberal sense of humour)- in fact they are quite “tacky” and offensive in some cases. Making comments with bad info resulting from not reading the article or having poor reading comprehension just makes some of you look like complete idiots.

    Speculation that the daughter is asking for damages based on inability to perform sexualy would trigger this type of discovery as would a sleazy big corporate defense lawyer trying to find something embarrasing in the plaintiffs background (like a teenage pregnancy or abortion)to use as leverage in getting her to drop her suit or settle rather than risk having things exposed in court to a jury or to her boyfriend / husband / partner. All we can do is speculate however though it does paint AA with a very sleazy brush….