An American Airlines rat incident has led to a lawsuit. A flight attendant is accused of hiding her pet rats in her pantyhose and bringing them along on flights. Louann Giambattista, age 55, contends that her pets remained at home while she was working.
Giambattista is now suing for damages. She claims that the accusations have caused her ongoing issues when traveling internationally. She further accuses American Airlines of causing her post traumatic stress disorder and severe anxiety.
Early last year, a pilot complained that Giambattista reported to work with a questionable bulge in her pocket. As reported by Yahoo News, another colleague stated that the flight attendant was observed holding and feeding a rat while the plane was en route to Miami.
Giambattista insists that her actions were misinterpreted by her colleagues. She states that she did have possession of a bread roll. However, she explained that the roll was for her, not one of her pet rats.
She and her attorney admit that her attempt to conceal the snack may have led to the confusion.
As reported by CBS News, officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and American Airlines never found a rat on the plane or in Giambattista’s possession. Throughout the extensive search and questioning, the flight attendant denied bringing any of her pets along for the flight.
Giambattista claims that the search was conducted in the presence of several colleagues. She states that the accusations and subsequent search have destroyed her life.
Her lawsuit claims humiliation, a flag on her passport, and continued anxiety and stress. She admits that she does have pet rats at home. However, she asserts that she never took any of them to work with her.
Stephen Morelli, Giambattista’s attorney, explains what prompted the lawsuit:
“Everybody has pets – she has her pets at home, not at work … She’s not a nut. They’re making her out to be a nut.”
The American Airlines rat lawsuit was filed in a Brooklyn federal court. Officials with American Airlines have not commented about the pending case and stated that they will defend the accusations in court.