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Qantas pays passenger after screaming child lawsuit filed

Passenger sues Qantas after screaming child allegedly leaves her "stone cold deaf"

Jul 28, 2010

Jean Barnard filed a lawsuit against Australian airline Qantas, claiming staff had not taken all possible measures to ensure the three-year-old child in the neighboring seat could not disturb her.

The 67-year-old from Los Angeles was onboard an Alice Springs to Darwin flight when the scream allegedly left her "stone cold deaf." She was helped off the plane and taken to a hospital. No other passengers were "injured."

"The pain was so excruciating that I didn’t even know I was deaf," she told an LA court.

Mrs. Barnard said the "injury" had left her unable to work as a business consultant and sued for physical and mental suffering, medical expenses, and loss of income.

Qantas argued its staff could not possibly be held responsible for "a small child’s random, impulsive scream" and the event was not "related in any way to the operation of the aircraft."

The airline also pointed out she wore hearing aids before catching the flight.

"There is no evidence that the child was screaming in the terminal or on board prior to the particular scream which allegedly caused the damage," said Qantas.

It also produced an email Mrs. Barnard sent, in which she wrote: "I guess we are fortunate my eardrum was exploding, and I was swallowing blood.

"Had it not been for that, I would have dragged that kid out of his mother’s arms and stomped him to death. Then we would have an 'international incident.'"

Passenger sues Qantas after screaming child allegedly leaves her "stone cold deaf"
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