Today’s news once again includes a story about a severe turbulence incident on a commercial flight. According to CNN: “At least 22 customers and two crew members were taken to a hospital for evaluation after a JetBlue flight experienced rough turbulence Thursday evening, a spokeswoman for the airline said. JetBlue Flight 429 was headed from Boston to Sacramento, but had to be diverted to Rapid City, South Dakota, at about 6:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. ET), spokeswoman Katherine McMillan said. Passenger Derek Lindahl said a woman sitting in front of him rose 2 feet into the air in the cabin at one point because she wasn’t wearing a seat belt. “I literally grabbed her out of the air to hold her to the seat,” said Lindahl, a software engineer from Sacramento. Rhonda Renee, another passenger, said the turbulence was like a bad dream.”People were flying out of their seat belts and hitting their head on the ceiling; it was very scary,” Renee said. A flight attendant was assisted off the plane by medical personnel.”
While it is currently unknown if any of the injured passengers on JetBlue Flight 429 last night were “lap babies,” a term used to describe infants under two who are not required to have a seat or age appropriate restraint when flying, the JetBlue turbulence incident illustrates the compelling need to guarantee babies, like everyone else, their own seats and age appropriate restraints when flying.
Aviation experts and regulators have known for years it is safer for children under two, like everyone else, to be properly restrained in their own seats when flying with the seat belt sign on. The danger is not only the obvious one–to the unrestrained babies who may end up flying about the cabin crashing into things–it also impacts whoever the babies may crash into on a crowded plane.
For a description of the problem, the stories of some of the babies who have lost their lives because of it, and a link to a law review article describing the dangers, see: Babies Have a Right to a Safe Seat With Proper Restraints – The Infant Seat Exception Should Be Abandoned.
This JetBlue turbulence incident was most likely caused by inappropriate risk taking in dangerous weather conditions that the airline and flight crew had to know about.
David Rapoport is the founding and managing partner of Rapoport Law Offices. In his over 31 years as a full time trial attorney, he has won numerous multi-million dollar jury verdicts and settlements in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Mr. Rapoport is a member of the invitation only American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), an association of premier trial attorneys who are dedicated to preserving the right to trial by jury. ABOTA's general mission is "to foster improvement in the ethical and technical standards of practice in the field of advocacy to the end that individual litigants may receive more effective representation and the general public be benefited by more efficient administration of justice consistent with time-tested and traditional principles of litigation." For over 20 years Martindale-Hubbell, through its Peer Review RatingsTM program, has consistently ranked David Rapoport as AV® PreeminentTM, its highest professional rating. This is a testament to Mr. Rapoport's abilities as an attorney and commitment to maintaining the highest ethical standards. Mr. Rapoport has also been selected by Thompson Reuters, another prominent legal publisher, as an Illinois “Super Lawyer” every year since the inception of the Super Lawyer program. Super Lawyer designation is limited to the top 5 percent of lawyers in a state in any given year. Since 1990, David Rapoport has been board certified* in Civil Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy ("NBTA"), the oldest and largest not-for-profit American Bar Association accredited trial attorney certification program. Attorneys with NBTA certification have proven ability in their field through specialized written examinations and meeting rigorous criteria for trial experience and ethical ratings. Mr. Rapoport has proven his currency and substantial trial experience through NBTA recertification in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010. David Rapoport has served as a leader of the movement to encourage board certification for trial lawyers for more than twenty years. Currently he is the President of the National Board of Trial Advocacy and its parent organization the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. He recently explained: "In this era of Wild West style minimally regulated lawyer advertising, it has never been more important for the public to have easy and reliable means of identifying members of the small fraction of practicing attorneys who truly have substantial experience trying cases. Board certification programs help consumers of legal services make more informed choices. Too many lawyers are out there claiming to have substantial trial experience when in truth they have never tried a case. Board certified trial lawyers have proven their substantial trial experience in ways the public can trust." Mr. Rapoport is a member of the President's Club and Leader's Forum of the American Association for Justice and the state trial lawyer associations in Illinois, Wisconsin and Kentucky. He is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago. * Board certification is not required to practice law in Illinois and the Illinois Supreme Court does not recognize specialties in the practice of law.