Lawsuit Claims Teen’s Death Tied to Faulty Equipment, Training of American Airlines Flight Crew

Barchart · 6d ago

The mother of a 14-year-old boy who died following a medical emergency during an American Airlines flight in 2022 has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the airline. The lawsuit alleges the plane’s on-board defibrillator did not function properly and the flight crew was not properly trained in its use, contributing to his death.

Kevin Greenidge was returning from a summer vacation in Honduras to New York City with his family when he lost consciousness and became unresponsive shortly after takeoff.

According to the lawsuit, the flight crew was slow to respond and struggled to turn on and operate the automated external defibrillator, or AED, which failed to deliver an electrical shock to restore Kevin’s heart rhythm.

The flight made an emergency landing in Cancun, and Kevin was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“After Kevin died, I never heard from American Airlines,” says Melissa Arzu, Kevin’s mother. “It made me feel hopeless. I want answers from American Airlines. I want American Airlines to take full responsibility for Kevin's death. I never want this to happen to a child or family again.”

A video interview with Ms. Arzu is available here.

“The loss of a child is truly unimaginable, and the facts of this case are horrendous,” says Hannah Crowe, the attorney representing Ms. Arzu. “Multiple eyewitnesses confirm that American Airlines flight personnel were slow to respond and not able to operate the AED machine, which appeared not to work.

“After Kevin died, the equipment went missing. Did someone at American intentionally destroy it? Is it defective, but back out in service? These are all really serious violations of the federal laws that are in place to protect passengers,” she says.

A video interview with Ms. Crowe is available here.

Ms. Arzu originally filed her lawsuit last year in New York, but the airline fought to transfer the case to Fort Worth, where the airline is headquartered. Ms. Crowe, with the law firm of Burns Charest LLP, was retained following the change of venue.

“Texas juries are tough, but they're fair. Our jury is going to hear what happened to Kevin,” says Ms. Crowe. “They are going to hear the facts of this case, and they are going to be shocked that American Airlines would put its passengers, especially children, in this kind of danger.”

Defibrillators have been federally required on all passenger aircraft since 2004, and Federal Aviation Administration regulations require that AEDs be properly labeled, regularly inspected for readiness to perform during emergencies, and function properly according to their manufacturer's recommendations.

The case is Melissa Suzette Arzu, Individually and as the Administrator of the Estate of Kevin Greenidge, Deceased v. American Airlines, Inc., Case No. 4:24-cv-00433-P, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division.