NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A former JetBlue Airways pilot who scared passengers by yelling about Jesus and al Qaeda in 2012 has sued the airline for $16 million, claiming that it jeopardized the flight by failing to recognize he was ill.
Clayton Osbon filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
No one was seriously injured on the March 27, 2012 flight from New York to Las Vegas when Osbon was restrained after running through the cabin shouting incoherently.
Osbon showed up unusually late for the flight. The plane was in midair when he told his first officer that they wouldn’t make it to their destination, according to court documents.
He began to ramble about religion, scolded air traffic controllers to quiet down, then turned off the radios and dimmed the monitors in the cockpit. He said aloud that “things just don’t matter” and encouraged his co-pilot to take a leap of faith.
The flight was diverted and safely landed in Amarillo, Texas.
Osbon was charged with interference with a flight crew. He later was found not guilty by reason of insanity after a forensic neuropsychologist testified in a short, unpublicized trial that Osbon had a “brief psychotic disorder” brought on by lack of sleep.
The lawsuit said Osbon’s behavior resulted from seizures. The suit accused JetBlue of ignoring warning signs Osbon was not well before the plane took off.
In a statement Friday, JetBlue praised the “heroic actions of the crew,” saying ongoing litigation prevents it from commenting further.
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