Jim Boyle Sep. 11, 2014, 2:45pm


A Florida woman waiting to board a flight home at the Philadelphia airport says a defective chair at one of the US Airways gates broke, causing her to slam her head against the wall, according to a personal injury suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Milagros Castro, of Hialeah, Fla., seeks $150,000 in damages over one count of negligence charged against US Airways, American Airlines, and the airport. The complaint says the defendants failed to exercise reasonable care to protect Castro from injury.

According to the suit, Castro arrived at the airport on Sept. 23, 2012, to depart on an 11:55 a.m. flight to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. While waiting for the call to board the plane, Castro sat on a chair in the US Airways departure lounge. The chair immediately broke, the complaint says, and Castro fell backwards, striking her head and back against the wall.

A quick investigation of the chair showed that the metal bar holding the seat had broken and detached, according to the suit. Castro says there was no way she could have seen the defect before sitting down.

In the aftermath of the fall, airline officials would not allow Castro to board her flight, the complaint says. Instead, she was immobilized, placed on a spine board and taken to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.

The suit says Castro suffered severe head trauma, contusions, memory loss, wrist sprain, a herniated disc and back pain, plus anxiety, depression and insomnia. Her recovery has created additional medical expenses that will likely continue well into the future.

The plaintiff says that US Airways, which has been acquired by American Airlines, and the Philadelphia International Airport owes a duty to its passengers to provide a safe environment within the terminals. They should have known the defective condition of the chair through regular inspections of the areas.

Castro is represented by Philadelphia law firm Neil E. Jokelson & Associates.

The federal case ID number is 2:14-cv-05199-AB.

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