A Southwest Airlines flight attendant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her employer, accusing the company of lax COVID-19 protocols and contact tracing that eventually led to the death of her husband.
Carol Madden, 69, filed the suit in the U.S. District Court in Maryland seeking more than $3 million in damages, USA Today reported.
Madden attended a one-day training session at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on July 13. Her husband, Bill, drove her home from the event.
The couple got sick days later and later tested positive for COVID-19, according to the lawsuit. His condition quickly deteriorated and he died a few weeks later. COVID pneumonia was listed as the first cause of death.
Bill Madden, a veteran and retired railroad signal engineer, was 73 years old.
“He was a phenomenal man. He had a heart of gold,” Madden said of her husband of 35 years. “There is nothing and no one that can replace him.”
Madden told USA Today that she “firmly believes my husband would still be here” if Southwest had applied the same safety protocols for employees as it does for passengers.
“They were cleaning the seats. They were cleaning the air vents. They were cleaning the seat belts. Every touchpoint was cleaned,”‘ she told the outlet. “They did not do that in my training last year.”
The training is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration and Madden said she was initially signed up for it in April 2020 but it was pushed back to mid-July when the pandemic started.
According to the complaint, Southwest flight attendants and instructors were not screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to or during the daylong training. They allegedly were not asked about potential exposure.