Golesorkhi and Moshari v. Lufthansa German Airlines

The Plaintiffs filed suit, claiming that they were so traumatized by flying on Lufthansa on a flight from Dulles International Airport to Tehran, Iran with a stopover in Frankfurt, Germany that they were hospitalized for severe physical and mental injuries.  Seeking over $2 million in damages, the Plaintiffs filed a complaint that included claims for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Specifically, they said that “they were terrified by the Lufthansa flight crew” and that “Lufthansa personnel yelled at them, told them to ‘shut up,’ and forced them to watch employees blow cigarette smoke into each other’s face.” The District Court directed a verdict regarding the claims of assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and Moshari’s battery claim.  Only Golesorki’s battery claim was submitted to the jury, which returned a verdict for the Defendant.  On appeal, the Plaintiffs argue that there was reversible error.  The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, at 122 F.3d 1061, 1997 US App. LEXIS 29196, affirmed the District Court’s final judgment:  “Words alone, no matter how grievous or insulting, are not sufficient to constitute an assault, and merely observing cigarette smoke blown into a sibling’s face does not create or threaten harm to the observer.”

122 F.3d 1061, 1997 U.S. App. LEXIS 23747.