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Suit claims Virgin pilot held passenger for not flushing toilet

April 30, 2013 at 7:15 AM   |   Comments

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SAN FRANCISCO, April 30 (UPI) -- A passenger sued Virgin America, charging he was detained upon arrival in San Francisco because a flight attendant claimed he didn't flush a toilet.

The suit, which seeks $500,000 in damages, was filed last week in the Northern District of California, Philly.com reported. The complaint said Virgin America violated Salvatore Bevivino's civil rights by false imprisonment, discrimination and denial of equal rights.

The suit said Bevivino, 52, boarded a Virgin America flight on April 28, 2012, in Philadelphia. He said in the suit he had asked for a soft drink three times before receiving one after being told twice he'd have to use a computer touchscreen to get one. He said he threatened to complain to the company.

As Bevivino prepared to leave the plane, he was pulled aside by the plane's captain "as a person of suspicion" then asked why he yelled obscenities at the crew and left the toilet unflushed. The pilot asked law enforcement officials to remove Bevivino.

A police report indicated a flight attendant told an investigator Bevivino went to the restroom after asking for the soda then returned "with a smile on his face and began using profanities. [Name redacted] passed by the restroom and saw that Bevivino left the door open and did not flush the toilet."

The police report said the captain didn't think he or his flight crew felt threatened by Bevivino, Philly.com said.

Bevivino told police he neither cursed at anyone nor failed to flush a toilet.

Bevivino was released but only after he was embarrassed, suffered mental and emotional distress and saw his professional reputation damaged, the suit alleges.

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