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Court To Rehear Alleged Outing Of Sex Toy By A Former United Airlines Employee

May 17, 2015 - Christopher Bridgeman and his husband Martin Borger had been traveling in Costa Rica for a vacation. On May 21, 2011, the couple had boarded an United Airlines flight to return home in Norfolk Virginia, the couple had a layover in Houston, Texas.

Upon their arrival in Houston, the couple exited the aircraft, and proceeded to the baggage claim area. They waited for their bags at the baggage carousel, one of their bags arrived and in an offensive condition.

A sex toy (dildo) had been taped to the top of one of their bags. The sex toy had been removed from the bag by one or more United employee(s), it was covered in a foul-smelling substance and the act was intended to inflict public humiliation.


The couple filed a lawsuit against United Continental Airlines (Civil Action No. 4:12-cv-02848) as a result of the bag being sent to a public baggage claim area in such an offensive condition, which the couple believes the airline invaded their privacy and intentionally inflicted emotional distress.

The case was thrown out in Texas' US district court in 2012. The Texas judge dismissed the case in a summary judgment requested by United Airlines. The judge ruled the couple had not proved their case. The couple appealed the case before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and it was reinstated in 2013.

This week the case was before a seven-member jury in Houston. Bridgeman said in court “I truly believed this happened because I am gay.” Bridgeman further stated he had discreetly tucked the sex toy in between some folded clothes.



Attorneys for the air carrier stated the couples bag was overstuffed, and that the zipper on the bag broke, which caused the sex toy to fall out. The attorneys pointed out that that the sex toy could have been exposed by Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) while inspecting the bag. Emmanuel Fortunat, a now retired baggage handler for the carrier stated he had not tampered with the bag. The case is now before a seven jurors; selected were four women and three men jurors will consider if any airline employee intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the men.

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