Houston passenger pushed by employee claims United threatened him to deter lawsuit

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - Ever since a United Airlines employee was shown, in exclusive video obtained by Channel 2 Investigates, pushing a 71-year-old, Houston grandfather to the ground at Bush Intercontinental Airport in 2015, Houstonians have been asking an important question: Why didn’t Ronald Tigner do something about all of this when it first happened?

Why didn’t he contact United Airlines back then?

His lawyer, William Hoke, says he did.

In fact, he says Ronald Tigner sent the then CEO of United a certified letter telling him what happened.

“He tried to work with Claims Processing at United Airlines, he even sent a certified letter to the then CEO, Jeff Smisek, of United. Mr. Tigner got nothing back in response, he didn’t get a word, a letter, a phone call,” Hoke said.

READ: Video shows Houston passenger pushed by United employee

Several weeks after that, Tigner’s lawyer said that Tigner again reached out to United and this time, says he was threatened by the airline if he tried to file a lawsuit.

VIDEO: Full airport surveillance video of United worker pushing Houston passenger to ground

“Mr. Tigner reached out to Nancy Tibbetts, senior claims representative and he was met with a threat. She told Mr. Tigner that if he filed a lawsuit, he would be banned from ever flying United Airlines again and would lose all of his frequent flyer miles,” Hoke said.

Tigner is now suing United Airlines for at least $1 million in damages.

United called Tigner’s lawyer last week to officially apologize to Mr. Tigner for what happened.

When contacted by Channel 2 Investigates on this story, United Airlines spokesperson Charles Hobart got back to us right away with the following statement.

“We are taking a thorough look into what happened here and we reached out to our customer to apologize for what occurred.”

Channel 2 Investigates continues to follow this story.

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