You cannot make this stuff up. Below from actual court documents……….
SMITH v. AIRTRAN AIRWAYS, INC.
KERSAUNDRA SMITH, Plaintiff,v.AIRTRAN AIRWAYS, INC., Defendant.
Case No. 3:09-cv-582-J-32TEM.
United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division.
October 12, 2010.
TIMOTHY J. CORRIGAN, District Judge.
Former flight attendant, Kersaundra Smith,1 sues her previous employer, AirTran Airways, Inc., claiming that her termination for dishonesty was, in fact, racially motivated or retaliatory and that she was subjected to a hostile work environment.2
This case is before the Court on a motion by Defendant, AirTran, for summary judgment. (Doc. 10). AirTran has filed exhibits in support of the motion and Plaintiff, Smith, has filed a response. (Docs. 11-12, 17). The Court held a hearing on the motion July 20, 2010, the record of which is incorporated by reference. (Doc. 19). After that hearing and at the request of the Court, AirTran provided a complete copy of the plaintiff’s deposition transcript with exhibits. (Doc. 20).
“On May 28, 2008, Smith went on an AirTran website that allowed employees to sign-up to travel for free, and scheduled a flight.4Id. at Ex. 45. When she booked her flight she listed an accompanying infant, Sophie Smith. Id. Travel for infants was free. However, thanks to a February 2008 policy change at AirTran, travel was no longer free for employee pets; bringing a pet would have cost Smith $414. (Doc. 11, Montgomery Aff., ¶ 7); (Doc. 20 at Ex. 67); (Doc. 20, Pl. Depo. at 272). As Smith neared the gate, she was pushing a covered Graco FastAction Fold Click Connect stroller. (Doc. 20, Pl. Depo. at 268-69). AirTran employee Geoffrey Wilson approached her intending to tag her stroller for storage in the belly of the plane. (Doc. 12, Wilson Aff., ¶ 6). As he drew closer, he saw that the “infant” in the stroller was a fluffy dog. Id., ¶ 7.
Wilson told Smith that she would have to pay for her pet. Smith replied that the new policy of charging for pets had been changed, and they were again free. Id., ¶ 9. Wilson allowed her to board but investigated with the Customer Service Supervisor on site, Cherilyn Brooks. Id., ¶ 10. They checked the policy and discovered that it was still in full effect. Id., ¶ 11. Brooks boarded the plane and told Smith that she would have to pay. (Doc. 11, Brooks Aff., ¶ 7). Smith refused and said for the first time that the pet was her Emotional Support Animal(ESA). Id. AirTran makes an exception to the fee in the case of Service Animals, including ESAs, provided that the presence of the animal “is found to be medically necessary for the customer traveling with the animal.” (Doc. 20 at Ex. 63).
Smith offered Brooks no documentation to prove the dog was her ESA. (Doc. 11, Brooks Aff., ¶ 7). Neither did she provide such documentation during or after the subsequent AirTran investigation; moreover Smith has not submitted to this Court any documentation to show that the dog was her ESA on the travel date. (Doc. 20, at Ex. 51). She did not fly with the dog when she was working as a flight attendant. (Doc. 20, Pl. Depo. at 251). Furthermore, Smith admitted during deposition that the decision to buy the dog was a self-diagnosis and self-prescription after reading on the internet and that the dog’s chief function was to wake her up after she mixed wine with Xanax and Ambien. Id. at 252-54, 262-64, 276-78. Disbelieving Smith’s claim that the dog was an ESA, Brooks gave her a choice to deplane or pay. (Doc. 11, Brooks Aff., ¶ 9). Smith left the plane.
On June 6, Smith was summoned to a meeting with AirTran officials. (Doc. 20 at Ex. 47). She was represented by the AFA. Id. She claimed to have been told by an unidentified agent in Atlanta to list the dog as an infant. Id. She said she did not remember discussing policy changes with Wilson. Id. Though she admitted listing the dog as a “pet” in the past through a telephone booking system, she said she had received a memo, a copy of which is not in the record, telling her not to call the reservation desk to list the pet. Id.; (see also, Doc. 11, Cannon Aff. at Ex. A). Finally, Smith claimed that she had documentation for the ESA which she did not produce because she was not asked for it. (Doc. 20 at Ex. 47). As a result of this meeting, AirTran concluded that Smith had been dishonest and terminated her on July 2, 2008. Id. at Ex. 51.”
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