HOUSTON — A federal jury is hearing opening arguments next week in a civil case where United Airlines’ baggage handlers are accused of humiliating a gay couple by causing a sex toy to be exposed when released on a baggage claim carousel.
Christopher Bridgeman and Martin Borger cleared customs from Costa Rica and rechecked their bags for a domestic trip home to Norfolk, Va.
Upon retrieving their belongings, they discovered an unexpected object taped between the zipper of one piece of luggage. It was a purple-colored sex toy that was soiled.
The married couple's 2012 federal lawsuit claims the airline's baggage handlers intentionally inflicted emotional distress and invaded their privacy by searching through their luggage.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt of Houston dismissed the case in late 2012; however, a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel reinstated the suit a year later.
United claims their baggage handlers did not open the bag and could not have known what was inside to intentionally target gay men.
Seven jurors comprised of four women and three men were selected Monday for the trial that begins Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle.