Civil Rights

Soda-order spat, claim of unflushed toilet leads to police involvement and lawsuit against airline


An airline passenger who says his refusal to order a soda on a computer touch screen led to his being detained and questioned by authorities after the plane landed has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit over the April 2012 incident.

Salvatore Bevivino says he was falsely accused of swearing at Virgin America crew members. Also at issue when he was questioned by San Francisco airport police and the FBI was the business manager’s bathroom etiquette, the San Francisco Chronicle recounts.

According to the police incident report, a crew member accused Bevivino of using the facilities and leaving the toilet unflushed a short time after the soda-order spat. Bevivino then exited the bathroom with a smile on his face, according to the report.

Bevivino, who lives in California and works as a business manager, said he neither swore at crew nor left the toilet unflushed, but merely pushed to have a flight attendant take an in-person drink order when he had trouble with the touch screen, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The Smoking Gun provides a copy of the police incident report, along with a partial copy of the federal suit, which seeks $500,000 plus punitive damages.

The suit was filed last week in San Francisco and asserts claims for defamation, race discrimination and false imprisonment, among other counts, Courthouse News reports.

See also:

Huffington Post: “Salvatore Bevivino, Virgin America Passenger, Sues Airline After Alleged Dust-Up, Unflushed Toilet”

New York Daily News: “Plane passenger allegedly detained in Phila. for not flushing toilet properly”

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