Context: SOURCE

Michael Lowe filed his lawsuit on Monday in Tarrant County, Texas, after he says he was arrested last July for a crime he didn't commit.

According to the lawsuit, a duty-free shop at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Tarrant County was burglarized in May 2020. Surveillance footage of the incident showed the culprit was a passenger of American flight 2248, and investigators obtained a search warrant ordering the airline to produce "any and all recorded travel data for all individuals" on that flight, the suit stated.

Instead, Lowe said, American only produced identification for one passenger -- him.

Why would the airline have any responsibility?

Let us assume that the evidence excludes Mr. Lowe. I realize that they the airline has deep pockets / insurance so from that standpoint they are "ripe" for the picking. That being said, they did not arrest Mr. Lowe and the video evidence should have immediately exonerated Lowe. IANAL.

1 Answer 1


The problem was that the arresting officer and the investigating officer were two different people. After American airlines misidentified Mr Lowe as the suspect a warrant was issued for an arrest, and it wasn't until about a year later when officers in New Mexico ran his name and found that he had a warrant that they detained him. So their actions were perfectly proper. The length of his detention was primarily because the USA functions as separate legal jurisdictions, so you can be held for some time on a warrant for another state.

Possibly the investigating officer should not have relied on American Airlines identification of the suspect. However, Mr. Lowe would have to overcome the qualified immunity bar to sue the PD.

The case against the airline is that of negligence: they had no duty to single out Mr. Lowe; they could just have turned over all the data, as requested. Having chosen effectively to carry out their own investigation, the claim is that they owed a common law duty of care to Mr. Lowe to do it competently. It's clear that misidentifying Mr. Lowe as the suspect was likely to do him harm, so it's a reasonable foundation for a claim. More than that, we will have to see.


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