Judge dismisses suit against Charlotte, airportAP , Associated Press
Mar. 7, 2013 9:51 AM ET
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Charlotte, its airport and an airline by the family of a teen who apparently fell to his death from the wheel well of a jet approaching Boston.
Superior Court Judge Hugh Lewis ruled Tuesday that 16-year-old Delvonte Tisdale of Charlotte was negligent in his actions and the city is not responsible for people who breach security.
Tisdale's body was found Nov. 15, 2010, a day after he left his home in Charlotte. The body was so badly damaged that Massachusetts authorities could not identify the remains. Tisdale's body was identified from a hall pass with his name on it.
An autopsy was unable to determine the cause of death.
Authorities said Tisdale probably sneaked onto the tarmac of Charlotte Douglas International Airport and climbed into the wheel well of US Airways Flight 1176, bound for Boston.
The lawsuit by Tisdale's family in November said the city, the airport and the airline should have done more to prevent Tisdale from getting onto the tarmac and into the plane's wheel well.
The lawsuit said the defendants negligently failed to ensure people could not access restricted areas, including the tarmac and aircraft.
The lawsuit also said the defendants failed to warn Tisdale of the dangers of "boarding a plane as a passenger in the wheel well of an airplane."
City Attorney Bob Hagemann issued a statement Wednesday saying, "While the City remains saddened by Mr. Tisdale's death and sympathizes with his family, the Court's ruling confirms our belief that the City should not be held legally liable for Mr. Tisdale's decisions and actions."
An attorney for the teen's family, Chris Chestnut, said he's disappointed with the decision.
"I just felt like it was premature. We filed this lawsuit to get answers, but we've never had them," Chestnut said.
"They're blaming Tisdale for his own death and no one knows how he got on the plane," Chestnut said.