TWA Flight Attendant Finally Receives Settlement Over Air Rage Suit

A former TWA flight attendant has received the bulk of a $750,000 (euro623,650) settlement stemming from an air rage assault case after five years of litigation.

Zohar Billing, the ex-flight attendant, received payment from C. Peter Houtenbos, a Dutch citizen living in Water Mill, New York

Billing brought a civil action against Houtenbos claiming battery, assault and infliction of emotional distress stemming from a Feb. 22, 1998, flight from New York to Los Angeles, and in June 2003 a federal judge in Phoenix awarded Billing more than $2 million, including punitive damages.

In January 2001, the same judge, Paul Rosenblatt, had awarded Billing a default judgment of $450,000 on the same three civil counts after Houtenbos failed to reply to a summons.

Earlier, Houtenbos was found liable for violating three Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

During the flight, Houtenbos, a first class passenger, was told to turn off his cell phone and keep it off, but he allegedly declined to do so. While flying over Arizona, Billing asked Houtenbos to let her hold the phone until the plane landed in Los Angeles.

But soon after giving her his phone, Billing said, Houtenbos charged at her, put his hands on her shoulders and shoved her into a galley counter, exacerbating a back injury.

Other passengers helped Billing while another flight attendant went into the cockpit for assistance.

Billing's lawyer, Howard Shalowitz, said she later underwent epidural injections and physical therapy.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

News stories provided by third parties are not edited by "Site Publication" staff. For suggestions and comments, please click the Contact link at the bottom of this page.