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Southwest Flight Attendant Sues Employer for Husband's Wrongful Death

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Southwest Flight Attendant Sues Employer For Husband’s Wrongful Death

ORANGE COUNTY, Ca., April 20, 2015 – An Orange County woman is suing Southwest Airlines after her husband, financial trader and CNBC “Futures Now” contributor Richard Ilczyszyn died following an onboard medical emergency on a flight from Oakland Airport to John Wayne Airport.

Attorneys representing the widow, Kelly Ilczyszyn filed a wrongful death lawsuit today in Alameda County Superior Court. The lawsuit accuses the Oakland-based Southwest flight crew of negligence after failing to respond appropriately and in a timely manner to Ilczyszyn’s medical condition on September 19, 2014.

According to the complaint, shortly before landing, Richard went to the restroom at the rear of the aircraft. The flight attendants told authorities later they heard sounds of moaning and crying. Looking through a crack of the bathroom door, one of the attendants saw Richard slumped over. The flight attendants notified the pilot but rather than follow airline procedures and alert medics, the crew treated this as a police matter assuming Richard was intoxicated.

When the plane finally landed, instead of asking for paramedics, Southwest personnel asked for law enforcement to respond. Based on Southwest’s representation that Richard was a disturbance, sheriff’s deputies decided to deplane the passengers before addressing Richard’s situation.

After approximately 30 minutes following the deplaning process, deputies opened the lavatory door and Richard fell out unconscious. Richard had gone without oxygen for at least 30 minutes. The 46-year old died 17 hours later at Hoag Memorial hospital while on life support.

Kelly Ilczyszyn, who has worked as a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines for 16 years is heartbroken and horrified by what happened. “I feel let down by my work family. They dropped the ball. This crew made horrible decisions and came to conclusions that weren’t based on accurate assessments,” said Kelly Ilczyszyn.

“The Southwest flight crew failed to follow proper procedures, they didn’t follow basic human instinct,” said attorney Browne Greene. “Flight attendants are not taught to recognize pulmonary embolisms which is a serious lapse in training,” said Greene.

Browne Greene of Greene Broillet & Wheeler LLP and Daniel K. Balaban and Andrew J. Spielberger with the law firm of Balaban & Spielberger represent Kelly Ilczyszyn and Richard’s three children, Sydney Ilczyszyn, Logan Ilczyszyn and Hannah Ilczyszyn.

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    Best Law Firms by US News

    Named in U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms,” Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP ranks as Tier 1 Personal Injury and Product Liability firm in Los Angeles.

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    Super Lawyers®

    Our firm has more attorneys on the Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars lists than any other law firm in Southern California, with 15 members selected.

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    American Board of Trial Advocates

    Several of our partners are members in the American Board of Trial Advocates, a national invite-only association consisting of the most experienced trial lawyers.

  • The Inner Circle of Advocates
    The Inner Circle of Advocates

    Founding partners Browne Greene and Bruce A. Broillet are both members of the exclusive invite-only Inner Circle of Advocates, as two of the top 100 plaintiff trial lawyers in America.


    All of our attorneys are proud to be active members of the Los Angeles County Bar Association or LACBA.

  • Consumer Attorneys of California
    Consumer Attorneys of California

    Many firm members have been honored by the Consumer Attorneys of California, including Browne Greene, Christine Spagnoli, and Bruce Broillet, recipients of the Marvin E. Lewis Award. In addition, attorneys Bruce Broillet, Scott Carr, Molly McKibben, and Tobin Lanzetta has been honored with the Consumer Attorney of the Year Award.

  • International Society of Barristers
    International Society of Barristers

    Our team includes several Fellows and Associates with the invite-only International Society of Barristers in recognition of their trial advocacy.

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    International Academy of Trial Lawyers

    Bruce A. Broillet and Christine D. Spagnoli are Fellows with the invite-only International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a group of elite trial lawyers from over 30 countries.


    Several partners are active members in the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, with attorneys Browne Greene, Bruce Broillet, and Christine Spagnoli named “Trial Lawyer of the Year."


    Firm partners Christine D. Spagnoli and Molly McKibben have both been honored by the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and are active members.

  • America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators
    America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators

    As a member of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators®, founding partner Bruce Broillet joins a select group of California lawyers. Only 0.5% of active attorneys in the United States receive this honor.

  • American College of Trial Lawyers
    American College of Trial Lawyers

    A preeminent trial lawyers’ organization in North America, the American College of Trial Lawyers have elected firm partners Bruce Broillet, Mark Quigley, and Geoffrey Wells as Fellows.


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