August 15, 2005

Eenie, meenie, minie, moe; Southwest Airlines racist? No.

The second distinguished recipient of the coveted DIM BULB du jour is actually a pair of low-watt geniuses: Louise Sawyer and Grace Fuller.

In February 2001, Sawyer and Fuller boarded a Southwest Airlines flight. This no-frills airline is known for its flight attendants' mildly humorous quips to encourage passengers to take their seats. On this fateful flight, attendant Jennifer Cundiff spoke these words over the intercom: "Eenie, meenie, minie, moe; pick a seat, we gotta go." Har har.

Only it wasn't so funny to Sawyer and Fuller, because they are black, and Cundiff isn't, and there's a variation of the "Eenie, meenie, minie, mo" rhyme that uses the dreaded N-word. Citing discrimination and physical and emotional stress, they sued Southwest Airlines in 2003. Amazingly, a district court judge agreed that this lawsuit - over a vulgar word that was never spoken - could proceed.

Here is the original story in the Kansas City Star, courtesy of Google's cache: Rhyme at center of lawsuit against Southwest Airlines.

At the time, some of the women's claims were rejected, and the jury found for the defendent. Now, the Tenth Circuit court of appeals has affirmed the district court judgment, noting a number of the plaintiffs' less than logical arguments. Unfortunately, however, the airline is still stuck with their own legal bills. Too bad, as this idiotic lawsuit is yet another poster child for loser-pay tort law. Even that woman who spilled McDonald's coffee all over her a few years ago had a physical injury to point to as evidence.

(H/T: Michelle Malkin and Overlawyered.)