Federal Judge Dismisses Gay Couple’s Sex Toy Prank Lawsuit Against Airline

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Thursday December 6, 2012

A federal judge has dismissed a gay couple's lawsuit that claims that Continental Airlines' employees embarrassed and humiliated them after they taped a dildo to their luggage, Courthouse News reports.

In late August it was reported that Christopher Bridgeman and Martin Borger, who reside in Norfolk, Va., and were traveling to Costa Rica in May 2011, filed a lawsuit against Continental Airlines for humiliating them in public. The men said that the airline's workers went through their luggage, found the dildo and taped it to their bag, which embarrassed the couple as everyone in baggage claim could see their sex toy. According to the suit, Bridgeman and Borger were seeking damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and negligence.

"I knew exactly what it was when I saw it," Borger said. "I was absolutely and utterly shocked and embarrassed and humiliated and I didn't even know what to do at the time."

The complaint stated that the couple suffered a "high degree of shock and embarrassment" and that they had to call two friends to the airport to help them. Additionally, witnesses allegedly laughed when they saw the sex toy taped to the bag, which also caused the men to have sever emotional trauma.

"I absolutely, fervently believe that this was intentional," Bridgeman said. "It was very sick and it was very wrong and it was just maliciously taped to the top and targeted because we're gay."

A spokeswoman for Continental, however, said an investigation was launched and there was no support for the couple's accusations.

"United does not tolerate discrimination of any kind," Christen David said. "We will vigorously defend ourselves and our employees."

When the case went before U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt on Thursday, he dismissed the claim and said, "The Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air, commonly known as the Montreal Convention, pre-empts the claims for damages related to the mishandling of luggage, according to the ruling. Adopted in 1999, the Montreal Convention sets conditions and limits for the damages that passengers can seek. Borger and Bridgeman were unable to circumvent the treaty to find relief, according to the four-page order."

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