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American Airlines Flight Attendant Wins Right for Jury Trial in Sexual Assault Cover-Up Lawsuit

American Airlines Flight Attendant Wins Right for Jury Trial in Sexual Assault Cover-Up Lawsuit

A long-serving American Airlines flight attendant has won the right to a jury trial in a lawsuit she has brought against the carrier, claiming bosses tried to cover up allegations she had been sexually assaulted by a celebrity chef hired by AA to develop a new First and Business Class menu.

A Tarrant County judge dismissed a motion brought by AA’s lawyers for a summary motion that would have granted the court the power to dismiss the case before it was even heard. The case can now go ahead and will be heard by a jury.

Kimberly Goesling, a veteran flight attendant with more than 30-years of service, brought the lawsuit against her employer and British chef Mark Sergeant in January 2020. Goesling claims Sergeant sexually assaulted her in a hotel room during a trip to Germany in 2018 and American Airlines then retaliated against her when she made the allegations public.

American Airlines had flown Goesling and a group of other flight attendants to Germany to work with Sergeant on the new onboard menu for premium passengers. During events organized by AA, the airline supplied Sergeant with alcohol which made him “rowdy, boisterous and obviously intoxicated,” according to the lawsuit.

The Michelin-starred chef is accused of texting Goesling and inviting her back to his hotel room for more drinks. Goesling didn’t join Sergeant but he allegedly started banging on her hotel room door in the early hours of the morning.

When she cracked open the door, Sergeant allegedly barged his way into her hotel room and then sexually assaulted her and raped her.

Goesling says she reported the incident to American Airlines but promises to help her were never seen through, the lawsuit alleges. The airline then tried to keep the allegations quiet and took retaliatory action against Goesling.

Goesling says in the lawsuit that American Airlines “discouraged her from further reporting the incident” and failed to pay her for treatment following the attack that they promised they would pay.

Before the assault, Goesling used to be involved in many of AA’s special events and functions but soon after reporting the attack to the company they “shut her down and tried to silence her,” her lawyers claim.

American Airlines says it quickly cut ties with Sergeant after it became aware of the allegations. In a statement, a spokesperson for the airline says of the lawsuit:

“American has an unwavering commitment to its team members and we’re committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for everyone who works at our airline.”

“Immediately after the incident was reported, we conducted an investigation and severed our business relationship with the accused individual. Because this matter involves ongoing litigation, we aren’t able to comment further at this time, other than to say that Ms. Goesling remains a valued member of our team.”

The case will now proceed to a jury trial.

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