HOUSTON — The lawsuit brought on by a gay couple against United Airlines for allegedly exposing their sex toy has been dismissed by a federal judge.
Baggage handlers were accused of humiliating a gay couple by causing a sex toy to be exposed when released on a baggage claim carousel.
Plaintiffs Christopher Bridgeman and Martin Borger cleared customs from Costa Rica and rechecked their bags for a domestic trip home to Norfolk, Va.
But upon retrieving their belongings, they discovered the sex toy taped between a zipper in one piece of luggage.
They sued Continental Airlines, which later merged with United Airlines, claiming they both suffered anxiety, paranoia, sleeping problems and weight fluctuations due to stress from the incident.
United Airlines counsel Edward Adams argued the baggage handlers were not responsible for the exposure of the sex toy, but even if they had been, they would have been acting outside of the scope of their employment.
Adams also said that Bridgeman and Borger did not appear to be humiliated by their experience because they opened a website called Plight2171.com and discussed the incident to the media.
Plight 2171, titled for the flight number that took them to Virginia, describes in detail what the couple saw.
"Picture this: When removing the clear tape (with the airlines' logo stamp visible) we discovered the sex-toy had been smeared with some sort of grease or lubricating substance with fragments of brown particles (fecal-matter) clearly visible with the most vile smell you can imagine, insinuating the sex-toy had just been used. Traumatizing and absolutely vomitous," the site says.
Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt tossed the case against the plaintiffs, ruling the case came down to a question of “whodunit,” according to the Houston Chronicle.
In dismissing the case, Hoyt told plaintiffs: “You have not presented clear and convincing evidence that TSA did not handle these bags and cause the situation that occurred. [I]n fact we know TSA handles these bags. We know that they scan them and in many instances they go into bags.”
“If you have two operatives and you do not eliminate one of those operatives by clear and convincing evidence, then you cannot go to judgment,” Hoyt said. “There’s nothing to submit to the jury — especially in light of the fact that you didn’t sue both of them.”
The suit was originally dismissed by Hoyt in 2012, but reinstated by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a year later. Today, Hoyt dismissed it again.
The Chronicle said the couple vows to appeal the ruling.
Pictured: The luggage at issue as depicted on Plight2171.com.