Family Sues United Airlines for $75K After Hot Food Allegedly Severely Burns Daughter

The Feffermans say the incident resulted in “disfigurement, scarring, discoloration, neurological deficits, [and] impairment”

United Airlines is facing a lawsuit after two parents claimed their child was badly injured during a flight due to faulty equipment provided by employees.

On Feb. 7, Michal Fefferman and her husband Ben Fefferman filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court of Northern Illinois.

In documents obtained by PEOPLE, the family stated that their child, identified only as O.F., was traveling with them on a United Airlines flight from their home country of Israel to Newark when the July 2022 incident occurred.

The Feffermans say that the airline provided an in-flight meal to their daughter, however, the tray table malfunctioned, causing the hot food to slide off of the surface and severely burn the then-6-year-old to the point where she was left “disfigured.”

Her parents are suing for $75,000.

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According to their general allegations, United Airlines “was responsible for maintaining the aircraft” at the time that O.F. was given “a tray containing a hot meal.”

“Although the meal tray should have provided a level surface so that food and/or drinks like the meal tray at issue could be placed on them safely, this particular tray table was defective, slanting downward toward the seat where O.F. sat,” the lawsuit alleges.

“As a result of the defective tray table, O.F.’s meal slid off and landed in her lap.”

The lawsuit adds that the “unreasonably hot” food caused the child “to suffer sever[e] burn injuries.”

PEOPLE reached out to United Airlines for statement, but a rep for the company said, “We can’t comment on pending litigation.”

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Ben says after his daughter was burned, he requested immediate medical attention for the child from the on-board crew. Unfortunately, the flight attendants “were unable to provide adequate care, partly because United did not equip the aircraft used for the Flight with reasonable medical supplies to treat burn injuries.”

As a result, the child, who was “now scarred and disfigured,” “suffered in extreme discomfort for the remainder of the 12-hour flight.”

The Feffermans say it was United’s duty “to exercise reasonable care in the operation of the Flight, including the provision of food to passengers, access to safe and/or sturdy tray tables, maintenance of tray tables, access to medical devices and/or care for reasonably foreseeable harms, and/or to warn passengers of defective equipment such as tray tables.”

The court filing alleges that the airline breached its duties.

Due to United’s alleged negligence, “O.F. was seriously injured and is seeking past and future non-economic damages for her injuries, burns, disfigurement, scarring, discoloration, neurological deficits, impairment, pain, suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, inconvenience, humiliation, embarrassment, and the loss of ability to enjoy her life, which she has experienced in the past and/or will continue to experience in the future.”

The compensatory damages amount of $75,000 will also go towards reasonable and necessary medical care and treatment for the Feffermans’ daughter.

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