Michael Lowe, an Arizona resident, who was arrested and jailed for 17 days after American Airlines incorrectly identified him as a burglar suspect to police, has filed a lawsuit against the airline. Lowe’s lawsuit states that he went through over two weeks of an endless nightmare. He was placed in a New Mexico prison as a result of American Airlines’ actions.
The lawsuit says that the alleged incident took place on May 12, 2020. Michael was flying from Flagstaff to Reno. The flight had a layover in Dallas during which a burglary at a duty-free store at the Dallas terminal took place. Police traced the suspect onto the plane in which Michael Lowe was flying from Dallas to Reno.
During the investigation, police obtained a search warrant that ordered American Airlines to produce all recorded travel data for that flight. The suspect was described as a tall and thin white or Hispanic male with a short military haircut wearing a black polo shirt and blue jeans, according to the police affidavit.
The lawsuit said that the airlines didn’t provide all the names but instead provided just one name – Lowe’s. The alleged action of the airline involved an extreme degree of risk as it provided just one name.
The lawsuit continued to say that providing only one name meant that the individual would be arrested and imprisoned surely. The airline should have provided the entire flight manifest as ordered.
The lawsuit didn’t mention the reason why the airline gave only one name. American Airlines told The Reporter Times that the company is looking at the lawsuit.
As a consequence of the airline’s conduct, felony and misdemeanor arrest warrants were issued for Michael Lowe, and he was arrested nearly a year later while on vacation in New Mexico on July 4, 2021.
During his prison time, Michael Lowe experienced the “unending nightmare” as mentioned in his lawsuit. The suit also described a palpable sense of menace among the prison inmates. It stated that he was in a constant state of anxiety about conflict or abuse, watched as a young inmate was repeatedly hit in the face, suffered from total sleep deprivation, and witnessed guards who refused to give medical treatment to an inmate who was vomiting.
Eventually, Michael Lowe was released from prison and he returned home. He let himself cry until he could no longer stand, as reported in the lawsuit. The allegations against Lowe were dropped. According to his lawsuit, however, it has left him plagued with anxiety, nightmares, and dread. It’s also made him question his own identity, as well as cast a dark cloud over his perspective of the world.
The complaint accuses the airline of negligence, negligent undertaking, and gross negligence in handing over Michael Lowe’s name to authorities, claiming that it conducted a “rushed and negligent” inquiry into its customers and showed “conscious indifference” to Mr. Lowe’s rights and safety.
The complaint also alleged that the airline refused to provide “all persons on the flight manifest or a list of all individuals who met a specific description (ex: all white males between 18 and 65 years old)”.
Instead, Michael Lowe was arrested and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit after American Airlines conducted its own negligent investigation that mistakenly identified him as the lone suspect in the DFW Airport PD felony inquiry, which undoubtedly resulted in his arrest and imprisonment.